Fact: I am terrible at ordering at restaurants.
The usual sequence of events goes something like this:
I read through the entire menu, picking out at least 10 things that I want in my face at that moment.
I ask the Mr. what he’s getting and hope it’s one of the 10 things I wanted so I can cross that one off my list.
If he isn’t thinking about getting one of the 10 things I want, I try to convince him to by dropping subtle hints. (Oh darling, doesn’t the pesto cream sauce in that dish sound divine!?)
I finally narrow it down to two or three choices, agonize over which one I want more, then finally make a decision.
The waitress comes and I totally panic. I change my mind and order something else.
The waitress leaves and I panic again. I should have stuck with my original choice! I actually want the other thing.
We call the waitress back (no joke, we’ve done this before…I have no shame), and I change my order to reflect my original decision.
It’s bad. Really bad. I’m surprised the Mr. is still willing to take me out in public.
Recently we went to an upscale Columbus restaurant called G. Michael’s for their special prix fixe Restaurant Week menu.
Unfortunately, my menu ordering disorder is only heightened when we’re at an expensive restaurant. Since we don’t frequent restaurants like this, every choice feels so monumental. A mistake seems catastrophic. Part of me wants to branch out, experiment, try something new, but the other part of me feels I have to stick with the basics and guarantee I’ll like it.
What does all this have to do with grilled nectarines? Well, everything in fact.
On that night, after much deliberation, sweating, and calling the waitress back, I decided to try something completely different. I ordered the broiled nectarines with cashews, sauteed spinach, and cayenne creme fraiche.
This time around, the risk turned into great reward.
I fell completely in love with the flavors. Sweet and savory, with a touch of crunch from the cashews and a touch of rich, creamy indulgence from the creme fraiche.
When I got home, I knew I wanted to try to recreate this special dish, but with my own twist. I loved the mashup of warm, sweet nectarine and salty cashews, but I thought the dish could use just a touch more of a savory hit. Solution? Add a few bacon crumbles.
(Just FYI, bacon crumbles are the solution to most of the world’s problems).
Instead of sauteed spinach, I decided to plate these on a bed of arugula, and instead of creme fraiche, I used a mixture of greek yogurt and aged balsamic vinegar.
The flavor harmonies here hit all the right notes. The caramelized cinnamon nectarines are juicy and sweet and play perfectly against the salty bacon and cashews. The arugula adds a welcome lightness and a peppery note, while the balsamic cream adds a touch of indulgence.
I like to make this for myself for a light lunch, but it would also make a lovely and unique dinner party appetizer.
I know you’re probably thinking this all sounds a leeeettle too strange. I thought it was weird too. But trust me guys, this is one of the best dishes I’ve made this year. And with only a 15 minute prep time, I guarantee it’s worth the risk.
- 2 nectarines, halved
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 strips bacon
- ½ cup arugula
- ¼ cup cashews, chopped
- ¼ cup greek yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
- Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy. Remove from heat and lay on paper towels to drain and cool.
- Place the nectarine halves flesh side up on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Broil until golden and bubbly on top, approximately 3-4 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together greek yogurt and balsamic vinegar until smooth.
- To serve, place ¼ cup of arugula on each plate. Top with two nectarine halves, bacon, and cashews then drizzle with balsamic mixture. Serve warm.
Recipe by Neighborfood