Grilled Peach Vinaigrette and Green Olive Tapenade

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Each of these condiments added so much to the meal we grilled last night, I just had to share the recipes. The vinaigrette came about spontaneously when I realized the vinaigrette I had planned to dress our salad with had been in the fridge a little too long and tasted off.

We had also grilled a couple days previously, which was my first time cooking peaches. Simply halved, pitted, and brushed with a little grapeseed oil, they were grilled cut side down until all browned, sticky, and with a bit of char. Sprinkled with a little freshly ground black pepper, they were a great accompaniment to my portabellas and Pete’s fresh lake trout (brought back from the Dockside Fish Market in Grand Marais—caught in Lake Superior the day before).

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I had half a large grilled peach left over, and decided it would be the foundation for a fresh jar of vinaigrette. This isn’t overly peachy, but you can certainly detect the flavor, along with just a hint of the smoky char from the grill.

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The tapenade was inspired by one that nudged an excellent vegetarian entrée I had in Grand Marais (at the Crooked Spoon Café) into the amazing category. It reminded me how tapenade can make a dish truly memorable. I really appreciated the chef putting thought and creativity into the menu’s vegetarian entrée. This beautiful plate of slow roasted organic carrot, pan fried purple potato, homemade spicy harissa, stewed lentils, and olive pine nut tapenade was such a treat when so oftentimes the token veg item on the menu seems to be practically an afterthought. Plus, it was vegan! What a delight to enjoy a delicious, fully-composed meal—that rarely happens! And we were celebrating my birthday, which made it even better.

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Last night my green olive version of tapenade was the crowning touch on our marinated grilled tofu, and the leftovers are being relished over crackers as a yummy snack. The standout aspect of our salad was the subtle vinaigrette, and we rounded the meal out with sliced russet potatoes, sealed in foil with a little Earth Balance, salt & pepper, and grilled until crispy.

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Grilled Peach Vinaigrette

1 medium peach (or half of one large peach), halved, pitted, brushed with grapeseed oil and grilled, then peeled
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, minced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place grilled, peeled peach, vinegar, mustard, and shallot in food processor and process until smooth. With processor running, add olive oil slowly in a steady stream until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over fresh greens, sliced red onion and garden fresh tomatoes.

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Green Olive Tapenade

1 cup Spanish Manzanilla olives with pimentos
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon capers
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper

Place olives, garlic and capers in food processor and process until only a little bit of chunkiness remains. Scrape down sides. With processor running, slowly pour in lemon juice and olive oil until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and mix in parsley and pepper. Great as a topping for grilled tofu, poached eggs, a sandwich spread or on crackers.

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