Roasted Peach and Goat Cheese Salad
Back when I first began dialysis treatments eons ago, I was severely restricted in partaking of all things potassium. Beloved summer fruits were verboten. Dieticians went around the dialysis clinic spouting which foods were out of bounds. Compliance was demanded of everyone. Most people don’t generally react well to being treated as naughty children and there was lots of complaining going on, not to mention poor lab reports. Overly high levels of potassium is just asking for a heart attack. I began tracking my monthly lab values. If half a cup of peaches was considered a high level of potassium, why couldn’t I eat a quarter cup and have it equivalent to a low or even a moderate amount potassium? And so I figured out how to work the system. Have a small peach and stay away from other high potassium fruits or veggies for the rest of the day. And that’s how I learned to adhere to what was good for me to eat.
In other words, mindful eating. Sound somewhat familiar? Something we all aspire to…
These days (actually these last 11 years), I have been doing my dialysis treatments at home, 4 nights a week, 7 hours a pop. My dialysis is long, frequent and very gentle on my system. In other words, it’s as close to actual kidney function as I can get, in a very broad sense. I have my days to myself, I don’t get wiped out from this type of therapy and best of all, my lab reports are thankfully, pretty darn good.
Translate all this medical mumbo-jumbo to: I can eat peaches and all kinds of wonderful fruits and veggies!! In moderation, of course… And you wonder why I’m so frickin’ giddy about terrific fresh food.
My Food Bloggers LA group had chosen summer fruits as the food theme. I envisioned lots of crisps, cobblers and pies.
Though a crisp was my first thought, I decided to offer up a salad with roasted fruit.
This is easily done. Select fruit that’s just ripe. Very ripe fruit will still be delicious but bit mushy. Cut in half and twist halves back and forth until they pull apart. Place flesh side down to roast.
That’s all there is to it. By the way, roasted peaches are insanely good with vanilla ice cream and maybe a few chocolate chips sprinkled over or a bit of Grand Marnier. But I digress. Back to our delicious salad.
I used arugula and romaine along with mache, a lettuce that’s sweet with a bit of crisp. I’ve found it at farmers’ markets and recently saw Organicgirl at Camp Blogaway and now at my Whole Foods. (Mache is at other markets too.)
I wanted a light dressing that would add a touch of sweet and a touch of savory. White balsamic vinegar, with a bit of olive oil, maple syrup and stone ground Dijon mustard to bring it all together, was just the thing.
Roasted Peach and Goat Cheese Salad
Ingredients:4 fresh peaches, just barely ripe (preferably from your local farmers’ market) 6 oz. (about 180 g) mixed lettuces (I used a mix of romaine, mache and arugula) (See NOTE at end of ingredients) 2 Persian cucumbers, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced 2 green onions, thinly sliced 1/2 pint of raspberries 6 T. white balsamic vinegar 4 T. extra virgin olive oil 1 T. maple syrup 2 t. whole grain Dijon mustard salt & pepper few pinches red pepper flakes 1/2 c. pecan halves, toasted, left whole or roughly chopped 2 oz.. goat cheese, crumbled 2 T. fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped NOTE: Honestly, I don’t ever measure lettuce, I just throw in a few handfuls per serving. I suggest you do the same, if you don’t already.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash and thoroughly dry peaches. Cut in half and gently twist back and forth until peach loosens from pit. Don’t squeeze the peaches too hard – you want to keep as much juice as possible inside the peaches. Roast peaches, cut side down until juices are bubbling and darkening, about 20-25 minutes. Cool and cut into bite-sized chunks.
Toast pecans in a hot dry skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until fragrant. Pecans burn easily so stay right there.
Whisk together vinegar, oil, maple syrup and mustard. Add salt & pepper and red pepper flakes. Or shake dressing up in a glass jar.
Place lettuces, along with green onions and cucumbers in salad bowl. Toss with half the dressing. Add cut up roasted peaches and raspberries and toss very gently. Add pecans, mint and crumbled goat cheese over top. Taste and pour desired amount of remaining dressing over top.
Makes 4-6 generous servings.
Note: Omit the cheese and it’s dairy-free.