Monday, September 3, 2012

Roasted Peach and Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese and Crispy Prosciutto

"Do I dare to eat a peach?"

Let us go then, you and I, into the kitchen and roast some peaches for a salad. I liberally paraphrase St. Louis’s most famous poet (and Marx Brothers fan) but where else can you go for a recipe and literary allusions?
So why bother to roast a perfectly ripe peach? The brief roasting lightly caramelizes the surface of the peach and dries it slightly so the arugula doesn’t get too wet.

You can skip the prosciutto if you avoid things such things, but if you don’t, a domestic prosciutto from the deli counter will do the job; no need for the expensive imported kind.  Try to avoid the packages of sliced prosciutto because you’ll end up paying almost twice as much as you would if you got a quarter pound sliced at the deli counter. If you have prosciutto on hand, you’ll end up using a little to accent pasta dishes, and other recipes.

For the blue cheese, I chose Valdeon, a Spanish blue. We are unapologetic blue cheese junkies around here. Gorgonzola is our usual choice, but I wanted to change it up a little so I chose Valdeon. Use what you like, just don’t buy it crumbled.

This recipe is scaled to two servings but can easily be increased depending on how many you plan to serve. The vinaigrette makes more that two servings so keep it in the refrigerator for other salads. It slightly strays from the usual 3 parts oil for every one part vinegar ratio.

Roasted Peach and Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese and Crispy Prosciutto
One ripe peach
2 slices prosciutto
Two handfuls of baby arugula (about 1 ½ to 2 ounces)
3 to 4 Tablespoons blue cheese

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Half the peach lengthwise; pit and peel the peach. Slice the peach halves lengthwise in thirds or quarters, depending on the size of the peach. Place the peach slices into a small bowl. Mix the peaches with a tablespoon olive oil and a teaspoon of sugar. Place the peach slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or piece of parchment paper. Roast the peaches in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

2. While the peaches are roasting, slice the prosciutto crosswise into thin strips. Place a small non-stick sauté pan over medium heat. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil into the pan; add the prosciutto pieces and cook until crispy, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the prosciutto from the pan and drain it on paper towels. Set aside.

3. To assemble the salad, place the arugula into a bowl. Add the roasted peaches, crisped prosciutto. and crumble the blue cheese over top. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the sherry vinaigrette and mix to combine. If the salad appears too dry, add a little additional vinaigrette. Divide the salad between two plates and serve.

Sherry vinaigrette:
3 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 Tablespoon shallot, finely minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons canola oil

1. Place the sherry vinegar into a small bowl with the shallots and let stand for 3 to 4 minutes to allow the shallots to flavor the vinegar.
2. Add the Dijon mustard, salt and pepper and whisk together. Add the oils while whisking to create a smooth emulsion. Leftover vinaigrette can be stored in a container in the refrigerator.
(Alternately, you can mix this vinaigrette in a small jar, shaking to combine the ingredients).


  1. Love your blog! I made something yesterday and thought it tasted so familiar (from your kitchen) but its main ingredient will surprise you. Give it a try!

  2. Thank you for your kind words! Avocado makes sense; it's neutral tasting and rich. Interesting! Thanks again. Now, where did I put that avocado?