Grilled Peach and Chicken Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

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I admit that I have an addiction to u-pick farms. I saw the website for Sauvie Island Farms proclaiming the availability of the first Early Red Haven peaches of the season, and I had to go and pick 8 lbs of them, which have become peach ice cream, peach-thyme bellinis, and this grilled peach salad, respectively. 

This was dinner a few nights ago, and it was a very refreshing and tasty summer salad.  It’s also a very easy salad to customize as the seasons (or your tastebuds!) change. The only recipe I really followed was for the vinaigrette. So take my salad ‘recipe’ as really just a rough outline and do with it what you will. I ended up with about half of the vinaigrette left over, so I’d say the dressing is enough for 4 large dinner salads, but the rest of the ingredients and the 1 bag of salad are enough for 2 hungry adults. I don’t have a grill (yet), so I used a grill pan over medium heat and lightly sprayed it with nonstick spray. I still got the pretty char marks on the peaches, and they came off the pan without falling apart, yay me!

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1/2 cup fresh raspberries

1/2 cup olive oil

3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar or wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons chopped shallot

1 teaspoon honey

Puree 1/2 cup raspberries, oil, vinegar, shallot, and honey in blender. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

For salad:

3 small peaches

1 bag butter lettuce or your favorite salad greens

½ cup raspberries

2-3 Tablespoons chopped roasted hazelnuts (another Oregon staple! I love Freddy Guys- order online or buy in person at the PSU Farmer’s Market or several local grocery stores)

1 cup shredded roasted chicken

goat cheese, to taste

salt and pepper

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Remove from the pan and let them cool a bit while you compose your salad:

In a large mixing bowl, add the butter lettuce (5 oz bag or the assorted lettuce lovingly harvested leaf by tiny leaf that morning from your back 40 acres, if that’s your thing) and toss with some of the vinaigrette- start with a little less than half, as you can always add more but can’t as easily take away.

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Arrange the dressed lettuce on two dinner plates. Top each with a sprinkle of goat cheese, the chopped roasted hazelnuts, 1/2 cup roasted chicken, 1/2 of the grilled peaches, and 1/2 of the raspberries.

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Enjoy!

Warm Chickpea and Winter Squash Salad

I normally make this salad with butternut squash, but this time I made it with delicata squash. Why, you ask? Well, if you live in Portland long enough, chances are pretty good that you will know at least one person who quit whatever they were doing in Portland to try their hand at organic farming in rural Oregon. And when those said friends come to visit you, they try to make up for the distance with 10 pints of raspberries in the summer, or a large box full of delicata squash and pie pumpkins in the fall. So since I have a surplus of delicata squash hanging out in the guest bedroom, I decided to try putting them in this salad. Happily, delicata squash are much easier to cut than butternut squash, and because the peel is very thin and tender and it’s perfectly fine to eat it, you don’t even have to peel them!

Salad

2 medium delicata squash (about 2 ½ lbs), seeded, and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces

1 large garlic clove, pressed

½ tsp. ground allspice

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Salt to taste

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves

Lemon-Tahini sauce

1 medium garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup lemon juice- I used 2 medium-sized lemons

1/3 cup well-stirred tahini

2 Tbsp water

3 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, combine the delicata squash, garlic, allspice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Mix together to evenly coat the squash pieces. Turn them out onto a baking sheet, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tender (but not smushy). Remove from the oven and cool.

Meanwhile, make the tahini-lemon sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic and lemon juice. Add the tahini, and whisk to blend. Add the water and olive oil, whisk well, and taste for seasoning. Since taste can be so subjective, don’t be afraid to add more tahini or lemon or oil and salt, to get it to your liking.

To assemble the salad, combine the squash, chickpeas, onion, and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Add tahini sauce and mix, careful not to break up the squash pieces. Taste again and adjust salt, and lemon or olive oil if needed.