Day 3 of Peach Week and I know what you’re thinking. “A salad? Really?”
Look, there are salads and there are salads. There are those pious, holier-than-thou meccas to suffering and deprivation and there are those that are so packed full of things you love that you really can’t sully the sum of its parts by calling it a mere salad.
You probably don’t have to guess which camp this one falls into.
This is an amalgam of all my favorite Southern food fantasies on a plate. Oh, come on — you’ve had food fantasies — don’t deny it. The “healthy” part of this dish is the base. Peppery green arugula, red onions, scallions and sweet corn, right off the cob. I used heavily perfumed peaches and juicy, summer-ripe tomatoes too –
all of this in a vain effort to make me feel less guilty for what comes next.
Now for the good stuff, like cornbread croutons — yes, cornbread. I used my leftover jalape?o, bacon, cheddar cornbread, but you can use any cornbread you like, cut into cubes, tossed in olive oil and baked until golden and crisp. This is cornbread, so it may be crumbly, but no matter. It’s decidedly Southern and undeniably addictive.
And a generous dose of country ham. Real country ham — not to be confused with that boiled crap they sell in the deli case or heaven forbid, the stuff from a can.
And finally, glazed pecans – because pecans are the official nut of the south (peanuts are legumes, after all). These pecans– which are super fast and easy to make (pinky swear) — are coated in honey and maple syrup with a nice kick of cayenne pepper.
Fair warning: It’s best not to attempt conversation when eating this, because the involuntary shoveling action of fork to mouth prohibits any more than a satisfied grunt or garbled “OH-MA-GAWD!”
southern summer salad
- 1 1/2 cups leftover cornbread recipe on this site, cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 ounces baby arugula
- 1 ear corn husk and silk removed,
- 1/4 red onion very thinly sliced
- 3 scallions
- 1 ripe peach peeled and pitted, cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1 cup mixed cherry and grape tomatoes
- 1/2 pound thinly sliced country ham can substitute, prosciutto or chopped cooked bacon
- 1/2 cup glazed pecans recipe on this site
for buttermilk dressing
- 2 tablespoons white onion
- 1 large clove garlic peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil from about 5 large basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup buttermilk well shaken
- 1 lemon zested
for the dressing
Add all ingredients to a heavy duty blender. Process until smooth. Taste for seasoning, adding salt or pepper if needed. Transfer to a bowl or jar and refrigerate.
for the salad
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the cornbread on a cookie sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Using your hands, toss the cornbread to coat with the olive oil. Bake for 7-8 minutes, then stir and bake an additional 8-10 minutes until cornbread is browned and crisp. Set aside.
Arrange the arugula on a large platter. Set aside. Use a sharp knife to remove the corn from the cob. Sprinkle the corn kernels over the arugula. Sprinkle on the red onion, scallions, peaches, tomatoes, country ham and glazed pecans. Top with croutons. Serve with buttermilk dressing!