Peach Salad with Champagne Mint Dressing

Last weekend I got to experience my newish favorite summer activity: picking peaches in Michigan! A lot of peaches. And by a lot, I mean A FREAKING LOT -  something like 90 peaches! And those were just mine! My friend, Anna (known here as the Culinary School Dropout), also picked a bushel and half. It’s safe to conclude we may have gotten a little carried away, but we were having such a good time!

Two days later and I’m still up to my eyeballs in peaches despite handing them out left and right, and also trying to think of new ways to use them. I’d planned on canning most of the peaches, but it’s just so hot out that I’m still talking myself into it. However, this Peach Salad with Champagne Mint Dressing is perfect for these hot days – I even brought it to an outdoor concert last night where it was enjoyed in by all. The salad is cool and refreshing, especially with the mint and Champagne vinegar dressing and sweet-savory sauteed peaches.

Sadly, I also made the rookie mistake of not getting a good photo, so the sad shot of the salad in it’s plastic container will have to suffice. So 2008, oops.

Here’s the recipe for Peach Salad with Champagne Mint Dressing:

Peach Salad with Champagne Mint Dressing – serves 4

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided

1 shallot, diced

Salt

Pepper

1/2 tablespoon butter

3 medium peaches, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

2 cups arugula

1/3 recipe candied walnuts (try this great recipe from Simply Recipes)

Champagne Mint dressing (see recipe below)

Heat 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the shallots from the pan and set aside to cool.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil and the butter to the saute pan; return to medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted, add the peaches, cinnamon and ginger and cook until soft but not mushy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cool to room temperature.

To serve, toss the cooled peaches and shallots with the arugula and candied walnuts. Drizzle with champagne mint dressing.

Champagne Mint Dressing

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

Pinch salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Note: the dressing will be thin.

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