Fruit salad is a deceptively simple dish. It seems like you could just throw in a bunch of cut up fresh fruits and call it a day, and a lot of people do just that. I am not one of them. And I am often complimented on my fruit salads. So what’s the secret? I’ve got several.
- Honey. Try drizzling a little honey over your fruit. An unusual or unique one, such as Tasmanian leatherwood honey or Corsican chestnut honey will make your salad much more interesting. Taste different honeys and try to imagine them paired with various fruits. A floral honey is nice with stone fruits or tropical fruits, an earthy or nutty one is great with berries or citrus.
- Salt. A few flecks of crunchy sea salt will really make the flavors sing. I like to use vanilla salt, which I make by scraping a vanilla bean into a jar of fleur de sel.
- Acid. Particularly lemon or lime juice. It not only brightens the flavor, but also acts as an antioxydant to keep more delicate fruits from going brown. Go ahead and throw some zest in there, too, if you like a more pronounced citrus flavor.
- Herbs. Mint, basil, and tarragon are three that compliment fruits especially well.
- No “Kitchen Sink.” It may be cliché, but “what grows together goes together.” Apples and oranges pretty much never belong in the same salad. Try to limit yourself to a few well-chosen, seasonal fruits.
Some seasonal suggestions:
- Spring – Early spring still relies on tropical fruits, but later on, strawberries, cherries and apricots steal the show. Try them with a little crushed dried lavender.
- Summer – Probably the best season for fruit salads, summer abounds with juicy stone fruits, berries, and watermelons. Summery basil and refreshing mint are natural complements, but a little chili pepper makes for an unexpected twist.
- Fall – Late-season melons, grapes, and plums provide a lingering taste of warmer days. Crunchy nuts add contrast. Fall is also a great time for compotes. Essentially warm fruit salads, think apples or pears and dried cranberries, cooked with a stick of cinnamon to spice things up.
- Winter – Winter is a great excuse to eat tropical fruits that might otherwise cause guilty feelings among the locavore set. Pineapples, mangoes, papayas, and other exotic fruits combine with kiwis (grown in temperate climates, but in season in winter) to give a splash of color to the earth-toned palette of winter produce. Lively citrus salads are made intriguing with a hint of tarragon.
A simple dressing of citrus, honey, and salt elevates ordinary fruit to new heights.
juice of ½ lime
1 tsp. Honey (I used Tasmanian)
pinch of vanilla salt
- Peel the kiwis by cutting the ends off and slipping a spoon between the skin and the flesh. Cut the kiwis into lengthwise quarters, then horizontal slices. Place in a bowl.
- Add the lime juice, honey, and vanilla salt and stir to combine. Let the flavors mingle for about 10 minutes, then eat.
On this day in 2008: New Ganga (a now defunct Indian restaurant)
Originally published on Croque-Camille.