Fruit salad is often sweet at this time of year. Juicy, ripe, fragrant fruit with sweet dressings. It's summer salad happiness, bite for bite. Even so, I often feel compelled to grab those fruit salads from the desert lands and take them to the hearty side of the neighborhood. And that's what we do today.
Hearty, fruity summer salads
One of the most popular examples of this genre of salad is the (always popular) combination of watermelon, feta and mint. You probably know it well. Sweetness comes from the melon, salt from the feta and the tingling herbal note of the mint. That's an example, but there are many other ways to explore this area. And there are many ways to emphasize and play off the gentle sweetness of summer fruits. I thought we could work through a few other ideas on the way to today's recipe. Let's brainstorm!
Summer fruits are often tender, so it can be good to add crispness and texture to a preparation. You can use fried onions, shallots, or roasted nuts. I think we can agree, some things are not improved by the introduction of deep caramelized shallots – they are a popular component in this salad (or in many salads, really). In addition, the introduction of a medley of green notes is often welcome, and you can use a variety of herbs, sprouts, or lettuce leaves.
Today's Pluot summer salad
This salad is all about the pluots. They're front runners in the markets right now, so this recipe is about them. If you can't find great pluots, try a version with another stone fruit or a mix of them. Plums, cherries, nectarines and the like are fair game. Here the fruit is rounded off with roasted ginger, garlic and shallots. It's drizzled with a simple lime and soy sauce dressing and is generously sprinkled with herbs – mint, basil, and coriander. Also lots of roasted peanuts.
It's super customizable too. Bri noted in the comments below: "… right now, Asian pears, persimmons and pomegranates are in season, but no pluots or plums. I replaced these three minus the dried fruit and it turned out wonderfully …"
A couple of notes
Make an effort to source good ginger. I often find organic Hawaiian ginger or locally grown ginger and I tend to stock up on them.
The recipe below has a soy sauce / shoyu dressing here, and I love it, but you can substitute salt for the dressing instead. The taste of the fruit comes through more directly. It's just a slightly simpler setting. In this case, add the honey to the lime juice as needed and then stir in the sea salt until the dressing tastes balanced and delicious.
You can find more salad recipes here. On the summer salad front, be sure to check out the summer melon salad, that simple red fruit salad, and forever those slushie cocktails!
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