Summer Fruit Salad with Fig Vinaigrette

Fruit salad?  Ordinarily I wouldn’t give a recipe for fruit salad a second look.  But this is no ordinary fruit salad.  This gives the notion of fruit salad new life.  From the creative young chef, Suzanne Goin’s wonderful book, “Sunday Suppers at Lucques”, this is a dish of colorful, sweet, savory goodness.  It uses the best summer fruit, combined with a sharp and jammy vinaigrette, assertive arugula and buttery Marcona almonds to produce the best-ever fruit salad.  The one must-have ingredient is figs; the other components should be a variety of the best summer fruit available.  Choose for quality, not quantity.  As Ms. Goin says, “You’re better off with a simpler salad composed of the most perfect nectarines or gorgeous peaches all alone”.   Here is the recipe, with minimal adaptation on my part:

Summer Fruit Salad
(serves 4-6)
2 tablespoons finely minced shallots
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
12 fresh figs, stems removed and halved
6-7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ripe nectarine
1 ripe peach
2 ripe plums
about 1 cup berries (I used raspberries)
6-8 ounces baby arugula
1/2 cup Marcona almonds, toasted blanched almonds, or toasted pecans
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Combine the shallot, vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.   Let stand for 5 minutes.  Using a mortar and pestle (or in a small food processor),  pound 3 fig halves to a coarse puree.  Add the fig puree to the shallot mixture and whisk in 6 tablespoons olive oil.  Taste and adjust for balance and seasoning.  Cut the stone fruits in half, remove the pits, and slice each into 1/4 inch thick slices.  Place the sliced fruit and the remaining fig halves in a large mixing bowl.  Add half the vinaigrette and a little salt and pepper.  Toss in the arugula and gently combine, adjusting the seasoning with additional vinaigrette, salt, and pepper.  Add the berries at the last to avoid crushing them.  Arrange the salad in a large shallow bowl or platter and sprinkle with the nuts.  Serve immediately.

One Year Ago:  Lunch Salads and Sandwiches

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