Grilled fruit is a wonderful late summer treat and peaches are at their juicy best now through the fall (they've had time to ripen before hitting your plate). The natural sugars of the fruit caramelize when exposed to the grill's heat, creating a crispy exterior and soft interior that enhances the fruit's sweetness. This salad celebrates this flavor profile by blending caramelized peaches with creamy cotija cheese, spicy pecans and salty bacon to create a refreshing and filling salad.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Grill Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4 (as a side or appetizer)
- 8 cups arugula
- 1/4 lb. thick cut bacon, cut into large pieces
- 4 oz. cotija cheese
- 4 large peaches, quartered
- 3/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp. MAD Spice (you can purchase MAD Spice at any MAD Greens restaurant or use your preferred spice)
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp. vegetable oil
- 1 tbl. olive oil
- Salt and cracked pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 and start warming up your grill.
- In a saute pan on the stove, cook bacon pieces until crispy.
- Toss peaches with 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil, then grill until char marks appear, turning halfway.
- Toss pecans with 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil and MAD Spice. Spread in a single layer on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
- In a sauce pan, heat balsamic vinegar on the stove until liquid starts to thicken and the volume reduces by half. You'll need about 1 tablespoon of balsamic reduction for the salad.
- In a large salad bowl, toss fresh arugula with olive oil until greens are coated. Arrange in a large serving bowl.
- Add bacon, cotija cheese, MAD Spice pecans, grilled peach slices and gently toss.
- Drizzle with balsamic reduction.
- Add salt and pepper to taste; serve family style and enjoy!
Pictured: Grilled peaches are the star of this show but don't be afraid to try out other fruits on the grill! Pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe and bananas are just a few of our favorites.
Pictured: MAD Spice Pecans, currently featured on our Bonnie Parker salad, are great just to snack on! And super easy to make. But be careful to not let the pecans burn, they should be brown not black.
Pictured: Bacon and cotija cheese are both salty foods but pair well together because the creaminess of the cotija balances everything out.
Pictured: The Balsamic Reduction should be a syrupy consistency...the longer is sits on the stove, the thicker it will get. The final product should be able to coat the back of a spoon.