Updated: Jan 11, 2020
The photo of this salad is featured with chicken because it was cooked an entree, but make no mistake, this salad is great all on it's own for a lighter dinner or lunch, which is why I've uploaded the recipe for the salad separately. The recipe for the peach-chili-bourbon chicken wings is also on the site, and I definitely encourage you to pair the two, but it's by no means a requirement. I've always been cautious about salad with fruit, but this one won me over instantly. Like much of my food, it's a labor of love, but I promise you'll taste the difference. The balance of sweet and tangy is incredible and the peppery taste of the watercress gives the salad edge and very well rounded flavor. Enjoy!
FOR THE SOUTHERN PEACH SALAD:
2 ⅔ cups of spinach
1 ⅓ cups of watercress
⅔ cup of feta
1 cup peach braised peaches (see recipe below)
¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
⅓ cup chopped chili pecans (see recipe below)
Combine the ingredients in a large salad bowl and toss. Divide the mixture evenly among 4 large bowls and dress with peach-Dijon vinaigrette, until mixture is lightly coated.
For the peaches:
4 fresh peaches
1 cup water
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 sprigs of thyme
Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, pitt, peel, and dice 2 of the peaches. Place the diced peaches and ½ cup of water in a blender, and blend until smooth. Next, add the peach puree, the rest of the water, butter, vinegar, and thyme to the pan. Allow the flavors to come together and the mixture to thicken, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes. Meanwhile pitt, peel, and dice the remaining two peaches. I prefer larger dices (about 1 inch). Remove the sprigs of thyme and add the diced peaches to the reduced peach sauce in the pan and reduce heat to simmer. The fresh peaches will only take about 3 minutes to cook. While cooking, stir the peaches often so they are coated in the sauce. While the peaches are still softened on the outside but still firm on the inside, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.
For the pecans:
1 cup of chopped pecans
1 tbsp chipotle seasoning
2 tbsp unsated butter
Heat the butter over medium heat until it froths. Add the pecans and chipotle seasoning and toss the ingredients well to combine. Lightly cook the pecans until they are fragrant and coated in the butter and seasoning. Remove from the pan from the heat and cool.
For the Peach-Dijon Vinaigrette:
¼ cup peach juice (preferably fresh)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
Black pepper to taste
Add ingredients to a mason jar and shake well to combine. It’s best to make the dressing ahead of time, to allow the flavors to meld. But the dressing is also delicious just after being made if you're in a hurry.