When summer fruits and vegetables are at their peak, it becomes difficult to choose what recipe to share with you each week. There are so many summer beauties to choose from. Peppers! Tomatoes! Stone fruit! Greens! This week, I decided to choose a handful of ingredients in their prime and celebrate them in this fast and easy salad.
The flavors here are so vibrant, no premade vinaigrette is needed, just a squeeze of grilled lemon over the top, a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and all is good. Since we have entered the season of fire-roasted chiles, I felt it was only right to incorporate them here. I use red chiles, but you can use green chiles, too. This salad would be just as tasty with fire-roasted Hatch, Big Jim or poblanos.
And this week as I watched Olympic diving, it occurred to me that some ingredients are like the diving board and some ingredients are like the diver. Here, the chiles simmer with garlic, goat cheese, cream and honey to make a springboard for the shishitos, peaches and scallions. All together, they make a winning team.
If the monsoon rains are keeping you from the grill, all of this can be accomplished on a stovetop with a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, or a large sheet tray and the broil setting on your oven. You could sear the peach halves, lemon and frisee on a dry, hot skillet. And you could cook the shishitos and scallions in a hot skillet with a bit of olive oil.
If you’re able, I would recommend making the red chile goat cheese the night before. It makes putting the salad together a breeze. For plating, you could plate individually, but this would be just as lovely plated on a large platter alongside grilled brats, steak, burgers or fish.
Grilled Shishito and Peach Salad
Makes: 6-8 servings; total time: 1 hour
For the red chile goat cheese:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
2 red fire-roasted chiles, peeled, seeded and diced
½ cup heavy cream
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
2 teaspoon honey
Salt and red chile powder to taste
For the salad:
½ pound shishito peppers
1 head of frisee, quartered
4 scallions (aka green onions), trimmed
3 ripe peaches, halved and pit removed
1 good sized lemon, halved
Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil (or other favorite finishing oil)
Garnish with marcona almonds or other favorite nut (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Make the red chile goat cheese: In a small saucepan over medium-heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and let cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant and just starting to turn a light golden brown. Add the fire-roasted chiles, heavy cream, goat cheese, honey and a crack of salt and red chile powder to taste. Bring this mixture to a simmer, just until the goat cheese melts. Turn off the heat. Blend until smooth. Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to the fridge until ready to plate.
Get grilling: Preheat your grill to a medium heat, around 375 degrees. Throw on the shishito peppers, frisee quarters, scallions, peach halves and lemon halves cut-side down. Using tongs, turn veggies as needed to get a nice grill on all sides. The peach and lemon you can leave where they are until they have nice color on the one side. As things finish cooking, transfer them to a large bowl or platter and bring to a cutting board. Leave the shishitos whole, slice the frisee into more bite-size pieces, slice the scallions on a bias and slice the peaches.
Plate the salad: Spread some red chile goat cheese on the bottom of a plate or platter. Sprinkle shishito peppers, frisee, scallions and peaches over the top. Squeeze one-half of the lemon over the top, using your hand as a filter to catch any seeds. Place the other lemon half on the side of the platter for folks to squeeze later as needed. Drizzle a bit of extra-virgin olive oil over the top along with marcona almonds (if you’re using them), with a crack of sea salt and black pepper.