Arugula Salad with Grilled Peaches, Cheddar and Pecans

“This recipe is for an appetizer, but it can be doubled for an entrée,” says Dave Van Morrelgem, chef of Upstairs in Montclair. “As a main dish, grilled pork tenderloin or smoky chicken make good additions.”

Photo by Laura Moss.

“At the restaurant we use Cabot Clothbound Cheddar that is a little pricey. If it is not in your budget, you can substitute any mild cheddar. The recipe makes more dressing than you will need. Extra can be refrigerated for about five days.” 

Serves: 4


12 oz cleaned baby arugula
3 ripe peaches
4 oz crumbled mild cheddar
4 oz toasted and chopped pecans
½ cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp whole grain mustard
½ tsp picked fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup + 1 tsp canola oil


1.    Put vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, thyme, salt and 1 pitted peach into blender.  Blend until smooth.
2.    Slowly add the 1 cup of oil with blender running until emulsified
3.    Set aside
4.    Halve the remaining 2 peaches and remove pit.  Slice peaches 3/8” thick.  Should get about 3 per half.
5.    Brush peaches with remaining oil and place on hot grill or grill pan.  Cook about 30 seconds per side or until nice grill marks are achieved.  Set aside.
6.    Put arugula, cheddar and pecans in bowl.  Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Add about 4 oz of dressing and gently toss until evenly coated.
7.    Divide onto 4 chilled plates.  Garnish with grilled peaches.

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