Food & Wine (July 2012)
Let's be honest: You'd have to work pretty hard not to love a dish whose title includes bacon, grilled peaches and onions, and buttermilk dressing. You could pretty much throw all those ingredients in a bowl and satisfy just about everybody.
And that's essentially what this salad is: Awesome ingredients, thrown together in a bowl. And you're gonna love it.
We suppose the hardest aspect of this salad in terms of prep is actually the dressing, just because it involves a fair amount of chopping herbs. Still, it's very straightforward. The bacon is totally hands-off cooking, and the onions and peaches get a simple sear on the grill. (You could even make the prep easier by making the dressing and the bacon a day in advance, if you wanted to. Then this salad would come together in no time.)
What we really loved about this salad is that it uses one of our favorite things about summer (fresh peaches) combined with a bit of indulgence (bacon + buttermilk dressing). And isn't that what summer is about? We grabbed some local bacon and fresh peaches at the farmers market, and we plucked the mint, chives and parsley from our windowboxes and our garden. This is our kind of eating!
The result is really nice. The sweet peaches and the caramelized onions are delicious together, and the spicy-sweet candied bacon gives a nice crunch. The tangy buttermilk dressing cools everything off -- and the mint and chives help temper the sweetness of the produce.
Like we said, you'd be hard pressed to combine these ingredients and not come up with something tasty. But this salad is an especially great way to enjoy some of the best flavors of summer.
Total time: 45 mins | Serves 8
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons snipped chives
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Freshly ground pepper
1 pound thick-sliced bacon
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 pounds Vidalia or other sweet onions, cut into 1-inch-thick slabs
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
4 large ripe peaches, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
Preheat the oven to 325°. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the sour cream, buttermilk, mint, parsley, chives and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the bacon slices on the sheet in a single layer and sprinkle with the brown sugar and cayenne. Bake for about 25 minutes, until caramelized (the bacon will crisp as it cools). Let cool, then cut the bacon into bite-size pieces.
Meanwhile, light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the onions with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until softened and browned, 10 minutes. Separate the onions into rings. Brush the peaches with olive oil and grill over moderately high heat until tender, 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
In a large bowl, toss the onions with the peaches and bacon. Add the buttermilk dressing and toss to coat. Serve right away.