I've long been a fan of roasted vegetables. Roasting concentrates the sugars and brings out a whole new flavor. But it's only recently that I started experimenting with roasting fruit. We had roasted strawberries for dessert a couple of weeks ago (just when I thought there wasn't anything better than fresh strawberries from the farmers' market - I learned there is: fresh strawberries from the farmers' market roasted and then tossed with the tiniest amount of high quality balsamic vinegar. Yum!).
As far as roasted fruit in salads go, that idea was prompted by the salad that Dave and Ashley brought over before the bike race week before last. Theirs included grilled peaches. It was fantastic. Because I've never used a grill in my life (that duty falls squarely into JR's realm in my family) and am much more experienced with a little device called the oven, I decided that roasted fruit in a salad would probably work well, too.
I started out thinking only of the nectarines that were on the counter. But when I eyed the beautiful figs also purchased from the farmers' market that morning, I couldn't resist throwing those in, too. I'm glad I did. The resulting salad was super tasty. Here's what I did:
Roasted Nectarine & Fig Spinach Salad
1 nectarine, sliced (I used a large, white nectarine from the farmers' market)
3 large figs, quartered
1/4 c. walnuts, toasted
3 handfuls spinach
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil the bottom of a baking dish. Arrange figs and nectarine in a single layer in dish. Bake 15 minutes, or until edges begin to brown and fruit is fragrant. Remove from oven; set aside and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, make dressing by mixing vinegar, maple syrup, and olive oil. Toss spinach with dressing. Top each salad with fruit and nuts.