Home Brewed Remedy

July 10, 2008

I hope I’m not the only one suffering from an affliction I like to call PPS: pretty produce syndrome. Here, let me describe the symptoms and maybe they will ring a few bells. It kicks in when you are roaming the aisles of your grocery store. As you leisurely amble through the produce section, scanning the displays and sipping at your coffee, it hits. You see a pyramid of luscious, promising and, yes, pretty produce. And it’s all you can do not to grab the nearest piece of fruit in the pyramid, recklessly inviting the risk of a fruit avalanche. You know that it’s not exactly peach season yet. You know that the peaches you pile into your cart will in all likelihood disappoint you: too firm, mealy, sadly odor-free, flat. But you just can’t help yourself.

So the next thing you know, you find yourself in your kitchen feeling chagrined (I will try to eat more seasonally and locally, I will try to eat more seasonally and locally …) and, inevitably, disappointed. Because even though you were ready for the peaches, they just weren’t ready for you.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

Well, dear reader, if you too suffer from this very tragic syndrome, I have a home-brewed remedy for you. Here’s how it works: slice your pretty but premature peaches and thread them onto skewers. Drizzle them with olive oil (trust me) and a dusting of sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper. Throw them on the grill, alongside some thick slices of red onion. Meanwhile, toss your favorite greens (for me, baby arugula) in your favorite vinaigrette (in our house, that’s a dollop of Dijon mustard, a squeeze of lemon juice and a stream of olive oil) and toast up some nuts (we had some walnuts and pistachios, so I used both). Once the peaches have grilled, they’re a whole different animal: sweeter, juicier, charred in spots, and altogether more interesting. Adorn your dressed greens with these rectified peaches, the grilled onions, the toasted nuts and a crumble of cheese (salty feta cut the sweetness of the peaches quite nicely; goat cheese would be lovely too).

I’m telling you, take one and call me in the morning. It will clear your PSS right up. Or, you could just wait until the local peaches (Michigan, I’m looking at you; according to this site, your season is early July and, ahem, it’s nearly mid-July) arrive and then make this salad.

Grilled Peach, Arugula & Feta Salad

2 peaches, sliced into wedges
1 red onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper
2 to 3 cups arugula or other greens
2 tablespoons nuts, such as pistachios and/or walnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons feta, crumbled
1/4 cup simple vinaigrette (such as this one)

Prepare the grill.

Meanwhile, thread the peaches onto metal skewers (or bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water, to prevent burning). Drizzle the peach skewers and onion slices with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill for 5 to 8 minutes, or until both the peaches and onions are browned, turning once. Remove the peach wedges from the skewers and separate the onions into rings.

Toss the greens in the vinaigrette. Arrange the greens on plates (2 for main dish salads; 4 for side dishes). Top the greens with the peaches, onions, nuts and feta.

17 Responses to “Home Brewed Remedy”

  1. Amy Says:

    I literally gasped and “mmmm”-ed out loud when I clicked on your post title and saw the picture of that salad; it looks SO delicious (and very, very pretty!) I’m a long-time sufferer of PPS, and I succumbed to it last weekend when I ate my first (not local) nectarine. I’m thinking maybe some paper-thin slices of prosciutto would be nice paired with this salad, too, and some crusty bread…don’t you love summer salad season?? 🙂

  2. Kai Says:

    Delurking to say I definitely suffer from this affliction, especially with strawberries.

    These peaches look absolutely DIVINE and I am definitely making this salad SOON.

  3. Whitney Says:

    That salad looks amazing! I resisted buying fruit at Dominicks this weekend to wait for the Greenmarkets. I was suffering from a different kinda of syndrome….sad heads of lettuce. I actually bought a bag of mixed greens because they look so awful.

  4. Sarah Bell Says:

    Looks absolutely delicious, I love salty cheese and sweet fruit together, for me it is the perfect combination.

  5. PaniniKathy Says:

    What a wonderful salad! I especially like the inclusion of pistachios and red onions. The flavors all sound fantastic!

  6. Amy: Prosciutto, yes! We’ve been eating a bit less meat lately, but I’m powerless again prosciutto.

    Kai: Oh, I’m so glad I’m not alone! Glad you delurked.

    Whitney: Thanks! You’re a Dominicks gal? We stick with Jewel, for “normal” grocery stores.

    Sarah Bell: Thank you! Agree on the fruit + cheese.

    PaniniKathy: Thanks! Actually, this would make a delicious sandwich too, don’t you think?

  7. mari Says:

    I too suffer PPS and I’m here to tell you there’s no cure! 😉 I can’t wait to make this salad, maybe grilling will make the tasteless peaches here in the Netherlands a bit more palatable.

  8. Patti Says:

    Although I can’t say I suffer from PPS(I get that feeling walking into Deerfields Bakery), this salad looks delicious. And I now know what you can make in Michigan next weekend. I’ll even supply the peaches from Jackson Fruit Stand in New Buffalo!

  9. Jerry Says:

    Yummy! Drool!

  10. Katie B. Says:

    Count me in as a “sufferer” as well – sometimes, it just can’t be helped. (At that’s what I tell myself!)

    Your salad sounds like a lovely cure!

  11. mari & Katie B.: Welcome to the support group. We’re a growing bunch, it seems.

    Patti: I would love to make this next weekend! And I’ve already been daydreaming about the Jackson Fruit Stand. And the ice cream at Oinks, of course.

    Jerry: Thanks!

  12. lora Says:

    Thanks so much for the great idea. I made my own version of this salad. I changed a few things, because of what was in my refrigerator. Here’s the post on my blog if you are interested.

  13. Pam Says:

    This looks amazing – my mouth is watering. Nice job once again. By the way, I just gave you an award on my site. Cheers.

  14. Mary Says:

    This salad looks absurdly good. I’ll give it a whirl.

  15. Lora: Looks like yours turned out great. As I said on your blog, the blue cheese sounds delicious.

    Pam: Thanks for the award!

    Mary: Thank you! I hope you try it. Let us know how it goes.

  16. rebecca Says:

    as a habitual lurker, i must step forward to say that i did, as you suggested to paninikathy, turn this into a sandwich… and, well, it just may be one of the best sandwiches i’ve ever eaten! i love the combination of the peaches with the red onions!

  17. rebecca: Thanks for commenting! I’ll have to give this a try as a sandwich.

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