Since having kids, our household goes through berries at a startling pace in the summertime. Mostly we eat them raw, since they are a low maintenance and healthy snack option. Sometimes we put them into breakfast treats or bake them into awesome desserts. It’s not often that they make it onto the dinner table, though it does happen occasionally.
This salad reminded me not only that berries can be part of a wonderful dinner, they are also amazing when roasted. Just a brief stint in the oven brings out a different side to the sweet flavor, a deeper, more complex side. Laid on a bed of fresh baby spinach with bits of soft, creamy brie and toasted nuts, this salad was similar to and somehow still very different from another favorite salad of ours. I suppose this is the summer version. This would be good with a variety of salad dressings but I think the best pairing is a raspberry or a balsamic vinaigrette.
For the berries:
12-16 oz. strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and halved lengthwise
1 cup blueberries
Extra-virgin olive oil (about 1½ tbsp.)
Generous pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper
Fresh baby spinach leaves (about 5-6 cups)
4-6 oz. brie, cut into bite-sized pieces
½ cup toasted nuts (slivered almonds or chopped pecans, etc.)
Raspberry or balsamic vinaigrette
To make the roasted berries, preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread the berries in an even layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, add the sugar and season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss gently to coat, then spread again into an even layer. Bake until slightly softened and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
Add baby spinach leaves to serving plates. Top with pieces of brie, a sprinkle of toasted nuts, and some of the roasted berries. Lightly dress the salads with vinaigrette of your choice. Serve immediately.