Grilled Peach Salad with Shaved Country Ham and Summer Herbs
Salted watermelon, cornbread, and molasses. You don’t have to look far to see how much Southerners like to mix their sweet with their salty. This summery salad, featuring balsamic-glazed grilled peaches and shaved country ham tossed with fresh herbs and creamy goat cheese, is an elegant tribute to this unendingly popular flavor combination. For real Southern flavor, use sticky-sweet Georgia peaches.
SERVES 4 TO 6
1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 peaches, halved and pitted
2 ounces country ham, thinly sliced
6 cups baby arugula, washed and drained
1⁄2 cup chopped mixed fresh mint, parsley, and basil
Juice of 1 lime
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled soft goat cheese
1. Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal or gas grill and let the coals burn to gray ash with a slight red glow; if using a gas grill, heat the grill on medium.
2. Combine 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with the vinegar, stir to combine, and brush the mixture on the cut sides of the peaches. Grill the peaches, cut side down, until golden-brown grill marks appear and the skins start to loosen, about 3 minutes. Remove from the grill. When cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skins, which should slip off easily.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until sizzling hot . Add the ham and cook until crispy, about 2 minutes per side. Remove and drain on a paper towel or brown paper bag.
3. Place the arugula, herbs, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, the lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl and toss to mix. Chop the peaches into large chunks or quarters and add to the salad, tossing to mix. Transfer the salad to a large serving platter or individual serving plates. Break the ham into large pieces and scatter on top. Sprinkle evenly with the goat cheese and serve at room temperature.