I love making unusual side dishes. As you can see here, this combination of grilled and roasted fruit, garden fresh tomatoes, soft cheese and nuts is a real eye and palate pleaser.
Every summer I always create a grilled fruit dish of some sort. I love the intense flavour and soft juicy texture of these nectarines as a side or dessert.
Fun fact. Did you know peaches and nectarines are the same species? It’s true. The only difference is that nectarines don’t have fuzz. I’m not a big fuzz fan, so I tend to reach for the nectarines when making salads. I will however always use fresh peaches in baking. The fuzz disappears when baked so it’s fine with me.
Since Steve is always barbecuing, it’s a “no brainer” to throw some fruit on the grill. This is perfect to make ahead as well, which is great for entertaining.
I for one just want something deliciously easy to serve on warm summer days.
This salad is incredibly fresh and tasty and goes really well with grilled foods or even as a main course.
Here’s a quick tip on grilling fruit:
Make sure to get the grill really hot so that your sliced fruit sears quickly and gets those beautiful grill marks on them while still having the fruit stay firm. You don’t want mushy fruit – no no no.
Let’s talk about the figs for a second. You are going to roast these with cinnamon and honey and they will be utterly divine. Trust me on this one. I’m not going to steer you wrong.
I used a couple of shortcuts in this recipe which I will list below but you can feel free to make this any way you want. It’s all going to come together to be one of the most delicious salads you will ever serve.
Oh, wait. You can make this salad for a crowd, or scale it down for two. If your’e looking for a platter full of “summer”, you found it here.
- 6 freshly washed nectarines, sliced in half
- Olive oil
- sea salt and pepper
- 6 - 8 yellow beets, steamed or roasted (shortcut - I used ready made steamed beets that I found at the supermarket)
- 1 cup orange or yellow cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1 cup mini bocconcini cheese, sliced
- 8 - 10 fresh figs, sliced in half
- ¼ cup crushed pistachios
- fresh basil leaves for garnish
- Balsamic dressing - Recipe below or use store bought for a shortcut
- Preheat outdoor grill.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Brush nectarine halves with olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper. Place nectarines onto hot barbecue and sear until grill marks appear and fruit is slightly softened. Remove and set aside to cool.
- Prepare figs by placing them cut side up on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with olive oil, season with a very light sprinkle of cinnamon and sea salt. Drizzle with a a bit of honey and bake for 30 - 40 minutes. Remove and cool completely before assembling the salad.
- Assemble the salad on a platter by combining the nectarines, sliced cooked beets, tomatoes, cheese and figs. Drizzle with balsamic dressing, top with crushed pistachios and garnish with basil leaves. NOTE: You can make this ahead before adding the nuts, dressing and basil leaves. I placed mine in the fridge overnight.
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- pinch of dried thyme
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper
- Pour the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, Dijon mustard, thyme and garlic clove in a jar. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon ground black pepper.
- Place the lid on the jar and shake vigorously to combine. Once smooth, taste. Then add more honey or salt if desired. Store in fridge until needed. Shake before using.