Cooking on the grill is hot (pun intended), so it’s a great time for new ideas that go beyond burgers and hot dogs.   

Summer fruits like peaches, plums and nectarines are a natural for the grill, where quick cooking brings out their juiciness and intensifies sweetness. Pair them with a crisp, cold Sauvignon Blanc, and you’ll be the hit of the backyard barbecue posse.   

Prep time for this unique salad is 15 minutes, and cooking time is another 15 minutes. Allow one additional hour to chill the salad before serving.   

All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store. 

Grilled California Nectarine and Butter Lettuce Salad

Makes 6 servings    

Spicy Nectarine Dressing

  • 1 nectarine, peeled and pitted 
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 3 tablespoons sherry or champagne vinegar 
  • 2 tablespoons honey 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper   

Salad  

  • 2 firm, but ripe, nectarines, pitted 
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, flattened slightly
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 8 cups washed and torn butter lettuce, lightly packed 
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios
  • 6 strips crisp-cooked bacon, crumbled 
  • 2 green onions, sliced   
  1. For dressing, combine all ingredients in blender or food processor; puree until smooth. Cover and chill until ready to serve.   
  2. For salad, cut each nectarine into 8 slices. Place on well-oiled grill over medium-high heat, and cook a few minutes on each side to lightly brown. 
  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper; place on grill and cook about 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through; cool.  
  4. Place lettuce in large salad bowl. Cut chicken into bite-size strips, and add to bowl with pistachios, bacon, green onions and dressing; toss well.  
  5. Add grilled nectarines; toss lightly.   

Note: For a spicier flavor, sprinkle chicken lightly with cayenne pepper before grilling.   

Recipe and photo courtesy of the California Tree Fruit Agreement and Mirassou Winery