Juicy fresh peach salad with port wine vinaigrette is topped with crunchy candied pecans and tangy blue cheese
Fresh summer peaches are perfect for salads. They add a sweet touch and are especially delicious when combined with tangy blue cheese and a port wine cumin vinaigrette. This salad has just a few ingredients but all of them are so flavorful!
There are a few steps to making this delicious salad, such as blending the vinaigrette and preparing the candied pecans, and all can be done ahead of time. We will walk you through all the steps below, including how to make a port wine syrup for the dressing.
How to make Port Wine Syrup
The first step to making the base of the port wine cumin vinaigrette is making a port wine reduction syrup. It’s simple to make with just 2 ingredients.
- Combine sugar and port wine in a pan, heat to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Stir occasionally until thickened, about 15 minutes. Cool the syrup before using.
Ingredients for Port Wine Cumin Vinaigrette
- Port Wine Syrup – be sure it’s cooled before using
- Rice Wine Vinegar – Compared to white vinegar, rice vinegar is less acidic with a delicate, mild, and slightly sweet flavor.
- Red Wine Vinegar – this vinegar is tangy and is a staple for vinaigrettes
- Champagne Vinegar – a mild, floral vinegar typically made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. If you don’t have any on hand you can use white wine vinegar
- Minced Shallots – we like the milder taste of shallots (vs. onions) for most vinaigrettes
- Toasted Cumin – to toast cumin just cook in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes to bring out the warm flavors
- Black Pepper – freshly ground
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – use your best olive oil since this is the base of this vinaigrette
This vinaigrette comes together in just a few minutes. Either hand whisk it in a bowl or quickly blend in a mini food processor. To prepare: blend everything together, except olive oil, and then slowly drizzle in the oil until combined.
Ingredients for Fresh Peach Salad
- Mixed Greens – we use a mixture of red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, frisee, spinach and baby romaine
- Fresh Ripe Peaches – yellow and white peaches are our favorites for this salad. Try using a combination of both for extra visual appeal. Peaches are best June through August and as a result are at their peak during this time.
- Crumbled Blue Cheese – we used Maytag blue for our salad but you can use any variety of blue cheese, or gorgonzola. If you aren’t a fan of blue cheese you could substitute in some tangy goat cheese or feta.
- Candied Pecans – these sweet pecans really add a nice crunchy touch and you can easily swap in walnuts if you prefer. Candied pecans are easy to make so be sure to jump over to our recipe to see how to make your own. (Be warned these are addicting so you might want to make extra!)
- Chives – adding chopped chives for garnish gives the salad a little bite. Chives are a mellow cousin of the onion and should be added last.
- Port Wine Cumin Vinaigrette – this zesty dressing ties it all together! It has a deep flavor due to the port wine syrup. We are huge fans of cumin so add more if you are too.
Assembling Fresh Peach Salad with Port Wine Cumin Vinaigrette:
Once you have the vinaigrette made, and the candied pecans ready, this salad comes together quickly. The salad looks great on either a large platter or in shallow bowls.
- Prepare vinaigrette and pecans
- Thinly slice the peaches with the skin on
- Crumble the blue cheese and chop the chives
- Layer the greens on a platter or in shallow bowls
- Add the peaches, pecans, and blue cheese
- Toss with the vinaigrette and then sprinkle with the chives
Make your own Candied Pecans
The great part about making your own sugared nuts is you can adjust the seasonings. This recipe works well with pecans, walnuts and almonds.
- If you want them spicier add more cayenne or chili powder.
- If you want them sweeter just add a bit less spice and more sugar and cinnamon.
- Grab our amazing recipe, get creative, and share with us what you made!
What to serve with Fresh Peach Salad:
This salad has a sweet touch so works well with main dishes that have a bit of spice. Here are some great matches:
- Chicken Paprikash (paprika) is a one-pot dish with deep rich paprika flavor
- Flavorful marinated Chile Lime Pork Tenderloin is grilled to perfection with a beautiful zesty chili lime glaze
- This 30-minute Shrimp in Chipotle Sauce is sweet, smokey, and lightly spicy! Shrimp is marinated and oven-roasted with a spicy kick of chipotle
- The secret to Perfect Seared Scallops are quickly searing them in a blazing hot cast iron pan and basting with butter.
Your Sommelier Wine Pairings:
When pairing wine with salads be mindful of the dressing you will be using. This one component will be your guide to selecting the right wine pairing. Match the weight of your dressing with the weight of the wine.
When looking for a great wine pairing for our amazing Peach Salad your dressing component is the Cumin Port Wine Vinaigrette. This dressing is a combination of tart, sweet and fruity flavors and white acidic wines hold up well to most vinaigrettes.
A Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio will make a lovely pairing for this peach salad. The combination of salad and wine will create a beautiful dance on the palate.
In order, these are my “go to” wine pairings:
- Sauvignon Blanc – a pick from the Loire Valley of France is a perfect match although I recently had an amazing wine from Martin Ray in Sonoma
- Pinot Grigio – Italy has fine Pinot Grigio from the Friuli and Alto Adige region. My California favorite comes from Laird Family Estates in the Napa Valley
- Rosé – you can’t go wrong with a Rosé from Provence, France
Fresh Peach Salad with Port Wine Vinaigrette
- 12 cups Organic Mixed Greens
- ½ cup Blue Cheese crumbled
- 2 Fresh Ripe Peaches skin on, thinly sliced
- ½ cup Candied pecans (or walnuts) (see link to recipe in notes)
- 2 Tablespoons Chives chopped
- ¼ cup Port Wine Vinaigrette with Cumin More to taste, (See ingredients and directions below)
Port Wine Vinaigrette with Cumin:
- 6 Tablespoons Port Syrup See directions below
- 4 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Red Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Champagne Vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons shallots minced
- 1 Tablespoon Toasted Cumin
- 1 Tablespoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Port Wine Syrup:
- ½ cup Port wine
- 6 Tablespoons sugar
How to make Port Wine Syrup:
- In a small heavy bottomed pan combine sugar and port wine.
- Heat to a quick boil, stir, then reduce heat to medium and simmer. Cook until reduced to a lightly thick syrup, about 15-18 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into a glass jar and let cool.
How to make Port Wine Vinaigrette with Cumin:
- In a bowl, whisk all vinaigrette ingredients except olive oil. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking to emulsify.
- Store in a sealed container and refrigerate if not using right away.
How to make Peach Salad with Port Wine Vinaigrette:
- Prepare the candied pecans and let cool. Prepare vinaigrette and set aside.
- Slice fresh peaches into thin slices. Crumble the blue cheese, and chop the chives.
- On a large platter, or in shallow bowls, layer the mixed greens.
- Scatter sliced peaches, blue cheese, and pecans over the lettuce.
- Drizzle on the vinaigrette and toss everything together. Sprinkle with chives and serve.