I am not a salad person. I like my food cooked. So if I say a salad is good, trust me: The salad is really good. This late summer salad with stone fruit recipe — savory and peppery from arugula and creamy gorgonzola, accented with sweet figs and peaches, with crunch and depth from pecans, seeds, and corn cut right from the cob — is really good. And also, really pretty.
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That Old Sweet and Savory Magic
This recipe works so well for a few reasons. One is its incredible seasonality. Everything tastes better fresh, and this recipe incorporates ripe peaches, nectarines, and figs at the height of the season.
Another reason this late summer salad with stone fruit tastes so good is because of all the interesting flavors and textures: Sweet, salty, soft, crunchy, tangy. There is plenty going on that makes this interesting and worthwhile. (Which salads frequently are not, amiright?)
Figs lend a mellow sweetness that pairs perfectly with creamy gorgonzola, while peaches add a more vivid sweetness to counter the peppery arugula. Seeds and nuts add both crunch and protein, so this can work as a side dish or a meal in itself. And if you can find some fresh nasturtiums or other edible flowers, so much the better. They taste mild and look stunning.
Recipe Notes: Late Summer Salad With Stone Fruit and Gorgonzola
- Why gorgonzola and not other blue cheese? Almost any blue cheese would be ok here, and dollops of goat cheese would taste great, too. But gorgonzola is unique for its creamy texture and more mellow tang than other blue cheeses. I just think it’s more satisfying. If you can’t find gorgonzola, try the Irish Cashel Blue cheese. Roquefort would be too strong here.
- Know your stone fruit. I would use ripe yellow peaches, nectarines, and even plums almost interchangeably here. But avoid white peaches. They lack the same flavor and, of course, bright color.
- As with almost all salads, do not dress the salad until you are just about to serve it. This keeps the lettuce leaves crisp and unwilted.
Summer Salad With Stone Fruit and Gorgonzola
- 4 to 5 ounces arugula or rocket
- 2 peaches or nectarines, pitted and sliced into wedges
- 5 or so figs, quartered
- 1 ear cooked corn, sliced off the cob
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- edible flowers, optional
- 1/2 cup pecans, walnuts, almonds, and/or pumpkin seeds
- 2 ounces gorgonzola cheese
For the Vinaigrette
- 1 teaspoon Dijon grain mustard
- 3 tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped fine
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives, sliced very thin
- 2 teaspoons honey, agave, or maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- a few turns of fresh pepper
For the Vinaigrette
- Combine all the ingredients in a jar with a lid, or a small mixing bowl. Shake or whisk to combine. Set aside. Note: you may not use all of the vinaigrette.
For the Salad
- In a large salad bowl, combine all the ingredients except the flowers and nuts and seeds, if using, and toss together gently.
- Run half the vinaigrette around the rim of the bowl, and toss the salad, gathering the vinaigrette into the greens and other ingredients. Taste. Add more vinaigrette as necessary.PRO TIP: Do not dump all of your dressing into the center of your salad and then mix. This will be uneven, and could weigh down some of the delicate greens. Rather, add the vinaigrette by drizzling it along the edge of the bowl, and mixing.
- Wipe the rim of the bowl so it looks clean and neat. Garnish with the nuts, seeds, and flowers. Serve immediately, reserving extra vinaigrette for another salad.