Salad - Grilled Peach, Endive, Feta
As Delicious as It Is Unusual
Family or guests will be surprised and delighted when this salad is placed before them -- as the main course!
But all it takes is a little looking at the delicious ingredients here to overcome that surprise and to want to dig in. For starters, the dish looks absolutely beautiful
Here we have peaches, endive and a few mushrooms -- all grilled. Who wouldn't like that? Maybe you could throw in a few grilled spring onions. And then feta cheese, with its distinctively salty taste. As much feta as you want to make this a main course, or only a little if you are serving this salad on the side and you want to emphasize the fruit and vegetables..
The ingredients in this grilled salad are so scrumptious by themselves, and when brought together even more so, that little in the way of dressing is required. Just a little EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), and a squeeze from a piece of lemon. Coarse ground salt and pepper, of course.
For more on the universally desirable EVOO, click here.
Grill some peach halves. It is supremely easy to do.
They look great and smell great -- and taste great, especially while still warm. The peaches can in some sense be considered the meat in this salad because they are substantial and bulk large.
Next the endive and the mushrooms. (Adding endive and mushrooms to just about anything results in a great enhancement -- they are just fundamentally delicious ingredients, particularly when grilled).
See "Grilled Fruit #7 - Peaches" for further ideas. Grilled peaches are terrific here in this salad, but they have other culinary possibilities, too, all of which are worth exploring.
Grilled mushrooms are superb on a sandwich, in pasta sauce, in many other kinds of sauces -- and in beef stew or veal stew. Here they stand on their own yet combine perfectly with other ingredients. Grill up some mushrooms.
Endive is primarily a salad ingredient, but not very often when it has been grilled. Yet, it is the perfect companion for grilled peaches. We have lots more facts about endive below. It doesn't take long to grill endive halves, just a few minutes on each side, a treatment which gives the endive halves an appealing culinary appearance.
Grilled onions can also be added to the mix here. They add a bit of tang, a bit of bite now and then as you are making your way through this wonderful meal.
Hot off the grill
They look good together, don't they? The beauty of this simple composition contributes much to the overall appeal of the dish.
Just as there are accidents waiting to happen, the peach-and-endive is a benefit, a pairing of two ingredients, waiting to happen. I'm glad I thought of it first, providing some other inventive cook hasn't beaten me to it -- which they probably have. But no matter! The two are great together no matter how or when this date was arranged.
Here are the onions also
The complete set of ingredients just taken from the grill. Again it is a very pretty picture.
Everything is warm and waiting. -- And inviting!
The tomato is optional. I threw one on at the same time the endive was already grilling. Who doesn't like a grilled tomato? But it is entirely up to you whether you want to include it with the peaches, endive, mushrooms, and onions. Same goes for grilled eggplant slices!
Up to you.
This is a substantial meal, more substantial than a traditional side salad. Balanced nutritionally, too.
I hope you have grilled plenty of everything because people are going to ask for seconds. On the other hand this dish is prepared so expeditiously that you could actually wait till the calls for seconds come in and then start over at the grill at that point. You would have a second plate before the hungry ones in no time at all.
A bigger picture
Salad is of course one of the healthiest food items we can consume -- but don't hold that against it. The justification here is solely based on taste and the visual attractiveness of the final composition. Maybe the fun of preparing it should be thrown in as another virtue.
Belgian endive is a type of chicory, quite distinct from other types in fact. (When people in the US think of chicory, they think of what was added to coffee in New Orleans during the Civil War, as a way to extend the limited supply at a time when normal supply lines were of course interrupted. The taste was distinctive and has lingered, flavoring coffee there even today -- it is an essential part of any visit to New Orleans).
The whiter the leaves, the less the bitterness -- though Belgian endive's bitterness is a delicious bit of bitter. Not so long ago, Belgian endive was always sold in blue wrapping paper to prevent the leaves from maturing. Somehow today they manage to sell it in clear plastic wrap just like so many other vegetables. The part we eat is not really a root, but it is grown beneath the soil's surface with only the tips of the leaves protruding. It is dug up for market.
Belgian endive's cousin, Radicchio, is also delicious grilled. I will try to feature radicchio in the future sometime.
Part of a series
Series within series, actually. Food & Cooking, for example, then -- within that -- series on vegetables, fruits, seafood, meat, etc. Books, too. Ideas, too. Travel, too. Key virtues:. pictures, clear step-by-step text. Delicious -- whether foods or ideas! All of the series, and all of the items in each series, can be found, organized by floor, at this link: Lee White's Department Store. Happy shopping! -- everything is for free!
Real Meal. Unlike fancy food mags, where images are hyped and food itself is secondary, all pix shown here are from a real meal, prepared and eaten by me and my friends. No throwing anything away till perfection is achieved. This is the real deal --- a Real Meal.