Grilled peach, onion and bacon salad with buttermilk dressing

The peppery addition of arugula to this is lovely and spicy. With all the great summer peaches around, this is a winner. If the white peaches are looking better than the yellow, replace the onion with red onion for good color contrast.

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 sup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp chopped mint
2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
2 tbsp snipped chives
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1lb thickly sliced bacon
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3lbs Vidalia onions, or other sweet onions, cut into 1 inch thick slabs
Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
4 large, ripe peaches, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
2 – 3 cups baby arugula, for serving

Preheat the oven to 325 F

In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the sour cream, buttermilk, mint, parsley, chives and vinegar and season with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the bacon slices on the sheet in a single layer and sprinkle with brown sugar and cayenne pepper. Bake for about 25 mins, until caramelized. (the bacon will crisp as it cools). Let cool, then cut or break the bacon into bite-size pieces.

Meanwhile, light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the onions with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over a moderate heat, turning occasionally until softened and browned.
Separate the onions into rings.

Brush the peaches with olive oil and grill over a moderately high heat until tender, 2 minutes.
Transfer to a plate.

On a large serving platter, arrange the arugula in a layer. Top with the peaches, onions and bacon.
Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve


Italian stuffed nectarines or peaches with Amaretti

This picture doesn’t do these enough justice as they are irresistible! You can make them a few days in advance then keep them in the refrigerator.  Bring to room temp before serving with a dollop of creme fraiche or Greek yoghurt.

6 nectarines or peaches, stones removed and halved. (I love the white ones as long as they are ripe and sweet)
4 oz Amaretti cookies
4 oz butter, softened
3 oz ground almonds (Trader Joes does “almond meal”)
3 oz golden superfine sugar (caster sugar)
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1 -2 tbsp toasted, flaked almonds

9 fl oz sweet Marsala
Greek yoghurt or creme fraiche

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F
Sit the fruit halves snugly in a baking dish, cut side up.
Put the amaretti cookies in a large bowl and with the end of a jar or rolling pin, bash them until they are crumbs. (I put them in a plastic bag and hit them with the rolling pin, then pour them out into the bowl)
Add the softened butter, ground almonds, sugar and beaten egg and stir together.
Push spoonfuls of the mixture into the cavities of the fruit, piling more on top until the mixture is evenly distributed amount them.
Scatter the almonds  over the stuffed fruit then carefully pout the marsala into the dish through a gap in the fruit taking care not to get the topping wet as it will go soggy. (I use a plastic funnel for this)
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until golden and crisp and the fruit is soft.
Eat warm with the juices spooned over and a dollop of Greek yoghurt or creme fraiche alongside.