And so my love affair with stone fruit continues.
This will be a brief post, as I am feverishly working through my baking and cooking experiments over the past few weeks to get them out to you. At the same time, I’m packing for my summer vacation, which means I’m knee-deep in potential outfits and iTunes is working overtime trying to find me the best possible summer beach music for our annual vacation soundtrack. In the midst of all this, I’m patiently removing pits from cherries, apricots, plums, and nectarines just for you.
In the spirit of summer heat, I give you this fruit salad. Fruit salad, you say. Surely this can’t be a meal; fruit salads only work as an accompaniment to a main dish.
Fruit salad can be a main dish, and this particular one is just perfect for a summer meal; it’s hearty, has a really nice sweet/tart flavor combination, and is practically popping with all sorts of different stone fruits, all of which are in season right now, at least where I’m at. I know some of your areas come after mine, which means you can get yourself all ready to make this.
Unlike my ode to nectarines a week or so ago, this recipe did call for the fruit to be peeled. And I did my best, giving up on only the plums because I was afraid they would just fall apart if I tried to mess with them too much. I say if you don’t feel like you need to spend the time peeling your fruit, your salad will be none the worse for it.
I did feel the original recipe could use some sprucing up, shall we say, so I made some changes I think you’ll like. Instead of almonds, I used walnuts. I think walnuts have a more earthy flavor, and I think because of that, they pair better with a tangy goat cheese than almonds do. The original recipe also called for “mixed greens,” and that’s also fine, but for me, it’s a little ho-hum, especially with such sweet fruit. Instead of regular mixed greens, I used baby arugula, which added a pungent little pepper flavor to the mix. Arugula, walnuts and goat cheese is a fantastic salad on its own, but add in the stone fruits, and you’ve got yourself a sunset-tinted party.
One final note in regards to dressing this salad. For the first time in Farmers’ Market Monday history, I’m going to tell you the dressing is optional. Why? Because fruit this juicy tends to make its own dressing of sorts, so please do what you feel up to. I had this once with the white wine vinaigrette, and it was wonderful. The next day, just to see if it would work, I added the smallest splash of olive oil and white wine vinegar to the arugula, tossed it, and then threw in everything else. Still incredibly delicious, but with even less effort.
Here’s to stone fruits, people. And summer. And iTunes. And me hopefully getting tons of food out to you this week. Because after that, I’m taking you on vacation/location with me.
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine. You can find the original recipe I worked from here. I can honestly tell you I read Cooking Light from cover to cover. Surprising, considering my thing is sugar-laden desserts, but I do eat real things. And they never disappoint in the “good for you and also delicious” department.
Stone Fruit Salad
for the dressing:
- 1 cup Riesling or other sweet white wine
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 6-8 cups baby arugula
- 4 plums, sliced into 1/2 inch thick
- 2 white flesh nectarines, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 2 nectarines, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 2 apricots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1 1/2 cups pitted fresh cherries, halved
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup (2-4 ounces) crumbled goat cheese (depending on how much you want to use)
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- sea salt and fresh ground black pepper for serving
make your dressing:
Heat wine in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons, 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper.
assemble the salad:
Toss desired amount of arugula (again, this is according to what ratios you prefer) into a bowl with your vinaigrette and toss gently to coat leaves. Alternatively, if you’re just going with the olive oil/vinegar option I mentioned in the post, do the same; toss in and coat, then season with sea salt and black pepper.
Add your fruit, folding it gently into your arugula. Check the seasoning, and then portion out onto 3-4 plates. Top with goat cheese and walnuts, and season again with a little sea salt and black pepper before serving. Serve immediately and enjoy immensely. I did.