Summer Fruit Salad

stone fruit

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.

figs + berries

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.

summer fruit salad

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.

Fun with Leftovers: Figs

Dinner:  September 27, 2007

As expected, the hectic pace I’ve been keeping over the last few weeks at the office in in preparation for our party last weekend caught up with me. Wednesday night I got home from work and was too exhausted to do much of anything; dinner that night was a platter of cured meats and cheeses left over from the party, along with cherry tomatoes, crackers, and a very quaffable red Mike brought home. I was still very stiff and achy when I woke yesterday morning, so I stayed home and spent most of the day in bed with the cats watching a fine selection of food shows on the DVR.

I often worry about dinner on sick days, but yesterday, I didn’t have to – I could smell it cooking all day long. Before he left for work in the morning, Mike seasoned a bone-in pork shoulder and put it in the crock pot, bathing it in a mixture of water, applejack, cider vinegar, chopped fresh figs (left over from the party) and chipotles in adobo. The aroma was heavenly.

By the time we were ready to eat, I was feeling well enough to put together a couple of sides – cannellini beans cooked with tomato and fresh sage, and Tuscan kale sauteed with a bit of garlic, chile flakes and lemon zest. The pork was so tender it was falling apart, so I carefully transferred it to a baking sheet and kept it warm in a 200 degree oven while I reduced the strained cooking liquid. I let it bubble away until it was reduced down to about 1/2 cup, whisked in some cold butter and plated everything up. We opened a lovely Sangiovese which highlighted the flavors of both the pork and the figgy pan sauce, and toasted to a great team effort.