A Salad to Salivate [Grilled Kale Salad with Peaches and Ricotta]

I wandered into the grocery store yesterday afternoon to pick up a few things for lunch; cheese, bread, tomatoes, greens. As usual, I left with about 10 extra items that I simply couldn’t leave behind (and that tugged mercilessly on my back muscles as I lugged them home, completely unprepared). One such item, a giant basket of glorious Ontario peaches. How could I leave them behind? Peach season is only just starting and it always seems it’s over before it’s even begun. The humble peach is one piece of produce that I can never get enough of, constantly wishing I’d sunk my teeth into just one more dribbley, juice-filled, fuzzy peach. 

Sometimes it’s nice to let summer speak for itself, and this salad is one dish that does just that. The flavours of smokey, slightly bitter curly kale smoothed by creamy homemade ricotta and fragrant, juicy peaches drizzled with a sweet and tangy honey-balsamic vinaigrette. Can you feel the sides of your mouth starting to twitch and salivate? It’s totally deserving of that sort of reaction. Instead of eating the beautiful bowl I photographed, I stood hunched over the counter making tiny kale-leaf tacos stuffed with ricotta and peaches. If you want to do that, I’ll allow it, but it’s slightly more civilized, only slightly, to serve it in a dish. With utensils, even. But who am I to judge? 

Grilled Kale Salad with Peaches and Ricotta
adapted from Bon Appetit 
serves 4-6 

Bon Appetit used plums in their salad, but I had peaches on hand so I went that route. You can use whatever local stone-fruit is available. 

4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
sea salt
fresh ground pepper
10-12 large curly kale leaves
4 medium peaches, halved, pitted and sliced
1 cup homemade ricotta (or high-quality store bought)

Whisk 3 tbsp olive oil, balsamic and honey together and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss with the peaches and set aside. 

Heat your grill or grill pan to high. Use remaining tbsp of olive oil to brush the kale leaves. When grill is hot, place the leaves on, turning once, until crispy and charred around the edged (about 2 minutes). Transfer to a cutting board to cool. When cool enough to handle, slice the large center stems away from the tender leaves and discard (or save for stock). 

On a serving dish, place a few tbsp of ricotta, 2 kale leaves, and a spoonful or two of peaches. Drizzle any remaining vinaigrette from the peach bowl on top of the salads. Season with a bit of salt and fresh ground pepper to serve.