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Pop apricots on the grill for this flavorful summer salad

Recipe: Grilled apricot and feta salad with balsamic vinaigrette

Grilled apricots are the star of this early summer salad.

Grilled apricots are the star of this early summer salad. Debbie Arrington

Grilled apricots stuffed with feta cheese are a classic summer appetizer. Why not use that same combination in a salad?

This colorful salad offers plenty of contrasting combinations; softened by grilling, the sweet-tart apricots complement the vibrant greens. Almonds and celery add crunch.

Apricots in a bowl
Fresh apricots have a short but delicious season.

Grilled apricot and feta salad

Makes 2 large to 4 small servings

Ingredients:

4 large apricots

Olive oil

1 stalk celery, strings removed and chopped

2 cups lettuce, shredded

2 cups spinach, roughly chopped

For balsamic vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

½ teaspoon seasoning salt

2 teaspoons sugar

For salad:

¼ cup feta cheese, reserving half for topping

2 tablespoons almonds, chopped

2 tablespoons raisins

Instructions:

Heat grill to medium.

Halve apricots and remove pits. Dip both the cut sides and skin sides in olive oil. Grill apricots, cut side down, until almost soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the grill and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine chopped celery, lettuce and spinach.

Make vinaigrette: In a small bowl or covered jar, mix extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, seasoning salt and sugar.

Grilled apricot halves
Grilling softens and slightly mellows apricots.

Add vinaigrette to the salad bowl and lightly toss the greens.

Cut grilled apricot halves in half again. Add apricots, half the feta cheese, the almonds and the raisins to the salad bowl; toss lightly.

Serve on plates or bowls. Use remaining feta as garnish.

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Garden Checklist for week of July 14

Your garden needs you!

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to reduce the chance of fungal infection and to conserve moisture.

* Feed vegetable plants bone meal, rock phosphate or other fertilizers high in phosphate to stimulate more blooms and fruiting. (But wait until daily high temperatures drop out of the 100s.)

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week.

* Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more. Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* It's not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers.

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