Listen, I don’t make the rules. These things aren’t rational. But at some point over our vacation in Scotland — a time when we mostly consumed fish and chips, more chips, steak pie, also with chips, a detail that I’m sure is unrelated — I began intensely craving the combination of peaches and blue cheese even though I can’t think of a time when they’ve crossed paths in my kitchen. Once we got home, I beelined for Salad Freak by Jess Damuck [Amazon, Bookshop, More Indies], a cookbook that came out this spring, because I had a hunch she’d put the idea in my head and sure enough, she had a combination of stone fruit and blue cheese waiting to fulfill my wayward vacation craving.
If you are thinking you don’t need a cookbook for salads, as I might have in the past, I’m here to tell you how wrong we are. We do, if not for exact measurements then for inspiration. For more creative ways to throw together what’s left in your fridge so nothing goes to waste. And to figure out what to eat when you’re in the third heat wave [fourth? fifth? heat waves are just a continuum now, aren’t they?] of the summer and everything you thought you’d want to cook in August no longer makes sense because it’s too hot to cook. Damuck’s book has us covered. There’s a breakfast salad with yogurt, cucumbers, eggs, and toasted seeds. There are soba salads and shredded kale salads and tortellini salads dressings with miso-mayo and horseradish goat cheese and a BBQ chicken cobb beloved by Snoop Dogg and every single thing is just a little bit unexpected and delivering the freshness I need right now.
As for the nectarines: I am trying to locate this salad on the meal continuum but I want it everywhere. It’s a dessert salad. Or maybe part of a cheese course. Or maybe a brunch salad. Or maybe just something to have with a very cold glass of white wine in the late afternoon and pretend we’re on vacation in the Riviera. The grilled nectarines take on a pie-like fragrance, even before you put anything on top, but the crumbled blue cheese, honey, mint leaves, toasted hazelnuts, and flaky sea salt coordinate blissfully into something so incredible together, I nearly ate the plate. I hope you put it immediately on your agenda.
6 months ago: Lemon Sorbet and Sweetheart Sables
1 year ago: Baked Farro with Summer Vegetables
2 years ago: Dulce de Leche Chocoflan and Kachumber Cooler
3 years ago: Ultimate Zucchini Bread
4 years ago: Marbled Raspberry Pound Cake
5 years ago: German Chocolate Cake + A Wedding Cake
6 years ago: Blueberry Bread and Butter Pudding
7 years ago: Takeout-Style Sesame Noodles with Cucumber
8 years ago: Three-Ingredient Summertime Salsa and Blueberry Crumb Cake
9 years ago: Banana Nutella and Salted Pistachio Popsicles
10 years ago: Zucchini Bread Pancakes and Zucchini, Tomato and Rice Gratin
11 years ago: Corn Buttermilk and Chive Popovers
12 years ago: Nectarine Brown Butter Buckle and Sweet and Smoky Oven Spare Ribs
13 years ago: Peach and Creme Fraiche Pie, Asparagus with Chorizo and Croutons and Sour Cherry Slab Pie
14 years ago: Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte and Garlic Mustard Glazed Skewers
15 years ago: Pearl Couscous with Olives and Roasted Tomatoes
Grilled Nectarines with Gorgonzola and Hazelnuts
- Olive oil
- 4 ripe but not too ripe freestone nectarines or peaches
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup (15 g) fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 cup (70 g) hazelnuts, toasted
- 1/2 cup (70 g) crumbled gorgonzola or another blue cheese
- Flaky salt
Assemble and serve: Transfer the nectarines to a serving platter, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle with the crumbled gorgonzola and mint leaves. Roughly chop the toasted hazelnuts and sprinkle them over the platter, along with a bit of flaky salt. Eat with a fork and knife.
Serve with: Very cold wine or a spritzy lemonade, maybe some prosciutto and melon, and if you want to tie it into a whole summer meal, I’d make these clams and serve with grilled bread.