Double your pleasure
Enjoy two Sea Island favorites at the same time with this sweet and crunchy salad.
Story by Carrie Hirsch + photo by Butch Hirsch
Residents of the Sea Islands have always been sweet on peaches and nuts about pecans. This recipe features both Lowcountry favorites in a salad that not only tastes good but is good for you too. You may not use all the candied pecans in this recipe, so save the leftovers for a snack.
Pee-can or puh-kahn? Depending on where you’re from and how you were raised, you call it a “puh-kahn” or a “pee-can.” “Puh-kahn” is dominant nationwide, but in many part of the Southeast, “pee-can” reigns supreme. No matter how you pronounce it, pecans are quite the staple here in the Lowcountry. Colonists were said to have planted them here in the 1600s, and we’ve been enamored ever since. Brickyard Point Farms on Lady’s Island on the banks of the Coosaw River was established in 1968 and grows pecans sold at area restaurants, stores and at farmers markets. Support our local farmers!
Sorry, Georgia, we know you have the reputation as the “Peach State,” but peaches have been grown here commercially since the 1860s. After California, South Carolina sells the most peaches in the U.S. and is proudly nicknamed “The Tastier Peach State.” This perfect, fuzzy, luscious, juicy fruit was selected as the official SC State Fruit in 1984. Cotton farmers’ crops were severely impacted by the boll weevil infestation in the 1920s, so they turned to growing peaches, which boosted their popularity. Famous authors D.H. Lawrence, Roald Dahl and Adrienne Su sing the peach’s praises, elevating the fruit to a higher intellectual plain, although peaches have been known to bully other fruits with childish taunts like, “I am like you, but softer and sweeter.”
Peach salad with candied pecans
Ingredients (candied pecans)
2 cups pecan pieces
1 large egg white
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Directions Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk egg white until frothy, then add pecans and coat well. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, cumin, salt and black pepper until pecans are well-coated. Spread out pecans onto a large, foil-lined lipped cookie sheet lightly coated with cooking spray. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning pecans over after 10 minutes. Remove from oven, then immediately transfer onto a plate with a spatula so they don’t stick to the foil.
4 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced (OK to use canned if off-season)
8 ounces blue cheese crumbles, or your favorite cheese
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Directions Toss together salad greens in a serving bowl with peaches, blue cheese crumbles, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Top with candied pecans just before serving.