Summertime means Peaches! Summertime Peach & Chicken Salad

     Colorado peaches are a summertime treat and so is this salad I tried last night, a combination of several other recipes. It is a wonderful fusion of flavors and something we will be making again! Although you could certainly use just plain balsamic vinegar the peach infused variety is lighter in color and really added to the overall flavor.

Summertime Peach & Chicken Salad with Toasted Pecans, Blue Cheese and Honey Balsamic Syrup     3 main dish servings
3 to 4 chicken tenders
1/3 cup whole pecans
½ cup honey
¼ cup balsamic vinegar – peach balsamic vinegar preferred (available at The Tasteful Olive in Kansas City)
½ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch kosher salt
About 2 tablespoons butter
3 peaches, halved and pitted
Baby Spinach – 1 large handful per person
¼ to 1/3 cup blue cheese, crumbled

1.     Prepare oven baked chicken according to recipe for “Magic” Chicken, or grill. When cool, cut either into diagonal slices or into chunks.
2.     Preheat an oven or toaster oven to 350°F. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 4 to 6 minutes until they are aromatic. Set them aside to cool.
3.     In a small saucepan, heat the honey, balsamic vinegar, thyme, black pepper and salt over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the honey and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is just slightly thickened and somewhat syrupy, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the honey balsamic syrup cool a bit.

4.     Preheat a grill pan on high heat. Brush a little butter on the cut sides of the peaches. Place the peaches on the grill, cut side down. Heat just until grill marks appear, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and slice.
Peaches are lightly butttered & ready to go on the grill.
Peaches go cut side down on top of a hot grill pan.
Heat just long enough to create grill marks.
5.     On serving plate, arrange a handful of spinach leaves. Add peach slices, chicken slices or chunks, toasted pecans and blue cheese; drizzle with honey balsamic syrup.

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