Monday, August 30, 2010

Peach and Escarole Salad – 'Cause I'm Tired of Greens You Can Gum!

This magnificent peach and escarole salad was inspired by one Michele and I had on our recent trip to New York City. We were taken out to dinner by my publisher (which has nothing to do with the story, but I really enjoyed typing that) to a place called Hearth, in the East Village.

The salad course was a plate of roughly torn escarole, dressed with a slightly sweet sherry vinaigrette. As I ate, I kept thinking to myself, damn, this is one delicious salad. The odd thing was, it took me a good while to actually put my finger on what exactly made it so wonderful.

Then it hit me. It was made with real, full-grown, somewhat tough, slightly bitter greens. 95% of the salads I eat in restaurants these days are made with the ubiquitous "baby greens" – that bland, one-dimensional, melt-in-your-mouth mixture of lettuce, so soft and delicate you don't even need a set of teeth to eat them.
This was the polar opposite of that. I had almost forgotten how interesting a salad could be! So, when Michele brought home a couple small heads of escarole one afternoon, I decided to film a salad recipe video, combining the mas macho greens with sweet peaches, goat cheese, and walnuts.

One trick with escarole is to make sure you are using a sweet enough dressing to offset the bitterness. I accomplished that with a dressing of sherry and rice vinegar, and then, just to hedge my bets, I added some perfectly ripe peaches to the mix. The result was one of the best salads I've had in years. Enjoy!




Peach and Escarole Salad Ingredients:
1 small head escarole (smaller is better, as it gets too bitter when large)
1 ripe peach
4 oz goat cheese
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 tablespoon olive oil
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste


View the complete recipe

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds wonderful.

Rita said...

you're right. escarole is a type of endive.

that salad looks so good!

Anonymous said...

With no sherry vinegar on hand, I suppose you wouldn't object to using 2 tablespoon of rice vinegar ?

Anonymous said...

Chef John,

Could you please tell me the brand of Sherry Vinegar that you use?

Thanks!

Food Junkie said...

Sounds really good and even have one peach left but the escarole might be tricky around here. I totally agree on the baby greens, not only are the textureless they haven't got much taste either when you compare them to the mature product.

Food Junkie said...

Sounds really good and even have one peach left but the escarole might be tricky around here. I totally agree on the baby greens, not only are the textureless they haven't got much taste either when you compare them to the mature product.

Chef John said...

I will but I'm not home now. Don't remember.

Anonymous said...

Found it!

Don Bruno, Sherry Vinegar (Vinagre de Jerez) 25.4 fl oz (750ml) -[import from Spain]

Chef John said...

yes all rice is fine!

kitchen tables said...

This is just one of the main reason why I really love your blog. You always post a very delicious dish. I also love videos that you share. It is so much fun to view.

verosgalematverden said...

You saved me today! Just made a little salad for dinner, and then realised *facepalm*.. I threw my bottle of dressing out yesterday because it smelled kind of funky..

Aha, little lemon juice, little olive oil, little mayo... and dressing :D Nice taste against the salad I made, and creamy enough not to just make a puddle of water.

Matthew said...

I just made this and it was excellent. I really liked the peaches in it and they added a nice colour.

Best Hamburger Recipe said...

hmmm! looks like so tasty! I'll try to make it soon.

OJ said...

Could you please make a video of the Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese. I had this salad once in a restaurant and I loved it I have wanted to try to make it since but I don't want to do it and be disappointed so please make a video so I can follow your steeps and that for sure is going to be a hit!

Anonymous said...

This brings me to my not uncommon problem of selecting olive oil. When I bring it from the grocery store, it too often tastes -- old. The most recent was a brand I thought might be ok: carapeli, and it tastes bad. It could be my market, I don't know how long olive oil can last unrefrigerated. Any suggestions?

Chef John said...

Shouldn't go bad at the store. Try bertolli

Dave said...

Can you use red wine vinegar if you don't have sherry or will that ruin everything?

Chef John said...

you could, but wont be as sweet.

Tom Teraoka said...

would feta instead of goat cheese change it too much?

Chef John said...

Different but still good. No real answer to that question.

Leigh-Anne Blaylock said...

Does the mayo effect the taste of the dressing? Can I leave it out?

Chef John said...

those kind of questions are very hard to answer! of course it effects the taste, but by how much? Can't say. Leave it out and see if you like it. Good luck!

Leigh-Anne Blaylock said...

You're right! That was a silly question! I was just thinking of when you said that the mayo was a trick to "emulsify everything." What does that mean?

By the way, do you have a vegetable stock recipe? I'm new to your site. I've spent some time searching your archives but I haven't found one. Thanks!

Chef John said...

No, not silly! I just can't really answer :-) I just meant it's not there for flavor as much as to keep the dressing from separating (emulsified).

Sorry, no veg stock yet!

xiaobao12 said...

Chef John! I love your recipes so much.

What could be another emulsifying ingredient? I hate mayonnaise but I will try this recipe. I just want to know if there is another emulsifier...thanks!

Chef John said...

Dijon!

JoAnn said...

Chef John check out this video with Jacques Pepin and his explanation of escarole and Belgium endive.
http://youtu.be/T618f5G7b6o
I love this salad...quick, easy and luscious.

Anonymous said...

Is there any other cheese i could use for this salad then the goat cheese? like maybe feta cheese?

Chef John said...

Of course!! Whatever you like!

Anonymous said...

thanks, i hope it turns out just as good as it looks. Thank you for the WONDERFUL recipes!!!