where do i even begin? peaches, guys. peaches are finally here!
when i think of peaches, i think of my husband; of summer, heat, of dirt roads, and farm stands. frank and i got married (almost 3 years ago!) on a fruit farm that was situated between a bay and a large inlet of water. we stayed on the property the week before our nuptials to prepare for the wedding, and each morning we would take a morning run through the peach orchard, past the bay in the gleaming sunshine. it was late july and it was glorious. as we ran the dirt paths through the orchard the air smelled like a mixture of sweet peaches and salt air, which i have yet to ever smell again. we would head down to their farm stand after our run to pick up fresh fruit for the day. if the peaches weren't ripe yet, the little old lady behind the register would put them in a brown paper bag and sternly instruct us to keep them in there, on the counter, for 1 day. and, if we could wait until the following day, we would have the juiciest stone fruits you could ever dream of.
along with strawberries, all i've been craving since finding out in january that i was pregnant was peaches. summery, fresh peaches. i bought a whole load at the market a little over a week ago and waited (not so patiently - they took longer than to ripen in my brown bag than i had anticipated) for the day they became ripe. i can't even describe how glorious that first fuzzy, sweet and juicy fruit was! from there they were inhaled in every variation i could think of: straight up eaten over the sink hand-to-mouth style, stewed and made as a topping for my morning oats (more on that soon!), chopped up into salads, etc., etc.
but for this salad i wanted a smoky, slightly charred peach flavor for a super flavorful panzanella salad! panzanella salads could be by far my favorite kind of salad. crusty bread, crunchy greens, maybe some fruit, maybe not; but mostly because it oozes summer. it begs for a warm evening full of friends or family, for chats and laughs, for meaningful conversation.
for this rendition i left out what some would consider the essential part of a panzanella salad: tomatoes. i really wanted the grilled bread and peach flavor to come through, and just give it another element of yumminess. there's a bit of peppery arugula (we have a ton in our garden right now) tossed with torn basil, and crunchy shaved fennel for a subtle anise flavor. before we grilled the bread and peaches, frank lined the mid-section of the grates with reynolds wrap, because i don't yet trust our grilling skills that the bread wouldn't fall through and be ruined by hot charcoal, or that our delicate peaches wouldn't stick to the grates. thankfully, because of this, neither happened! seriously, aluminum foil = both an anxiety reducer + life saver!
love + summer grillin'! xo
*this post was created in partnership with reynolds kitchens in celebration of their endless summer table, you can also check out their super awesome endless table on instagram, too! all opinion, as always, are my own. thank you so much for supporting the sponsors that help keep dolly and oatmeal going!
grilled panzanella salad w/ peaches & fennel | gf & v
if you don't have access to a grill, you can just brush the bread with some olive oil and throw it in the oven or under the broiler for a couple of minutes. for the peaches, you could either leave them raw as is, or you could sauté them in a bit of olive oil or even roast them.
| serves 4 |
- 1 large shallot, sliced thin
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt & fresh pepper
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 4 slices hearty bread (i used this gluten-free foccacia)
- 2 peaches, sliced into wedges
- 2 cups baby arugula
- 1 cup torn basil
- 1 large fennel bulb, sliced thin on a mandolin
- reynolds wrap non-stick foil
- cut a large piece of reynolds wrap non-stick foil and firmly fit it over the grill grate. heat the grill to medium heat.
- while the grill is heating, make the dressing. to a shallow bowl, add the shallot, vinegar, maple syrup, and a couple pinches of salt, and pepper to taste. let the mixture sit until the shallots are tender, about 10 minutes. add 4 tablespoons of the oil and whisk with a fork until the dressing is mixed and blended. set aside.
- cut the garlic clove in half. using the cut side of the garlic, gently rub each side of bread. using 1 tablespoon of oil, lightly brush each side of bread.
- place the bread on the hot grill and cook until toasted and firm, about 7-10 minutes. remove the bread and let cool.
- brush the peached with the remaining tablespoon of oil and sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt. place the peaches on the foil-covered grill and cook until lightly browned but firm, about 4-5 minutes. remove from heat and set aside.
- in a large serving bowl, toss together the arugula and basil. tear the bread into large chunks and add to the bowl. add the peaches and fennel, mix in the dressing and everything a thorough toss.