For a girl who has never been much of a fruit eater, it’s a bit shocking to look back at the amount of it I’ve tucked away over the last week. What it boils down to, I suppose, is how much better real, farm-fresh fruit tastes than stuff that has traveled from another continent. Though this salad originally appeared in my Weekend Eats wrap-up, it was such a hit with us that I wanted to post about it here for this week’s edition of Summer Fest 2009.
Since I still prefer savory to sweet, it has been fun to find ways to incorporate gorgeous summer fruit into our meals. Breakfast lately has been a scoop of creamy ricotta with berries or stone fruit or both, and salads have gotten fruity, too, with peach and basil bread salad getting fairly heavy rotation. But my favorite fruit-filled salad has to be the one I made over the weekend, inspired by Suzanne Goin’s Summer Fruit Salad with Arugula and Marcona Almonds from Sunday Suppers at Lucques.
It’s a simple salad, a combination of (not local to us) figs, (definitely local) stone fruit and berries, peppery arugula, and crunchy Marcona almonds, but the dressing was perhaps my favorite part of the dish. It’s a simple vinaigrette, given richness and body with the addition of a bit of muddled fruit. To make it, I took the softest, ripest fig we had purchased, chopped it up and used Mike’s wooden cocktail muddler to pound it to a chunky puree, then I whisked it together with a pinch of salt, some of my quick-pickled shallots (chopped), sherry vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
The dressing had a great sweet and sour flavor that married extremely well with our juicy plums and peaches, the tart black raspberries and blueberries, and the salt and pepper punch of the almonds and greens – this, to me, is exactly what a fruit salad should be.