Earlier this month, I posted a photo on Facebook of a striking grilled peach and fig salad that I had sampled during a visit to Cape Cod. The dish, which was served as an opener at Del Mar, a restaurant in Chatham known for its creative cooking, attracted more comments than usual from my friends. Many asked for the recipe, so over the past few days I’ve spent time trying to reproduce the fresh and subtle flavors of the original. After several attempts, I think the following version is close to the original.
At the restaurant, sliced peaches and figs, as well as slim honeydew melon wedges were seared over a wood fire, but at home I used a stovetop grill pan. (A good, heavy skillet would also work.) I combined these colorful fruits with arugula and pieces of cream filled burrata, all dressed in a balsamic honey vinaigrette. Thin prosciutto slices shaped into rolls, and toasted pecans made fine finishing touches.
Initially I enjoyed this salad as a first course, but I quickly realized that the dish is so bountiful that it could also serve as an entree. Pair it with a light soup or a sandwich if you want a more extensive menu.
To prep the fruit and dressing, count on 30 minutes or more, but much of the work can be done ahead. You can whip up the vinaigrette the day before, and slice and grill the fruits several hours in advance. At serving time, you’ll need only to assemble this extra special salad from Cape Cod.
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Grilled Peach and Fig Summer Salad with Arugula, Burrata, and Prosciutto
Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp crushed dried rosemary (See market tip)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup canola oil
4 ripe but firm medium yellow peaches
1/2 small to medium honeydew melon
4 purple figs
Canola oil, either a spray can or a bottle
8 thin slices (about 3 oz) prosciutto, rolled into cylinders
Two 4-oz burrata cheeses
1/3 cup pecan halves, toasted (See cooking tip)
6 cups (4 to 5 oz) baby arugula
1. For the dressing, in a medium nonreactive bowl, whisk together honey, vinegar, mustard, rosemary, and salt. Gradually whisk in the oil. (Dressing can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature and whisk well before using.)
2. For the salad, prepare the fresh fruit. Drop the peaches in a pot of boiling water to cover for 40 to 50 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and when cool enough to handle, use a sharp paring knife to remove the skin. Cut each peach into 6 wedges and set on a large plate. For the honeydew melon, scoop out and discard seeds. Then cut the melon lengthwise in half and remove the peels with a sharp knife. Cut each of these halves into 6 slim wedges. Halve the figs lengthwise.
3. Either spray a stovetop grill pan or a large, heavy skillet generously with canola oil or use a brush to coat with oil. (It is essential that the grill or skillet be well oiled so that the fruit does not stick when cooked.) When pan is hot, add enough peach wedges to fit comfortably in a single layer and cook until grill marks appear (or when lightly browned if using a skillet) on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn and cook on other side for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to a tray or large plate and continue to cook remaining peaches in the same way, spraying or oiling the pan often.
4. Cook honeydew slices in the same pan, again spraying or oiling the grill often and cooking them 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove the slices to the tray or plate. Finally grill the figs on cut sides only until grill marks appear (or until lightly browned), about 1 minute, and add to the tray. (Peaches, melon, and figs can be grilled 4 hours ahead. Cover loosely with foil and leave at room temperature.)
5. To assemble, have ready four dinner plates. Cut each burrata into 6 pieces.
In a large bowl, toss the arugula with 3 to 4 tablespoons of the dressing and mound in the center of each plate. Drizzle the grilled peaches, melon, and figs lightly with some dressing and arrange around and on top of the arugula. Drizzle the burrata with some of the dressing and spoon 3 portions of the cheese onto each salad. Garnish each serving with two prosciutto rolls and with some pecans. Serve extra vinaigrette separately. Serves 4 as a main course.
Market tip: McCormack’s sells crushed dried rosemary that is available in many groceries.
Cooking tip: To toast pecans, spread on a rimmed baking sheet, and place in a preheated 350 degrees oven until lightly browned 5 to 8 minutes. Watch carefully and stir once or twice. Remove to cool.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2017