Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wayback Machine: Sublime Fruit Salad with Mint

Sweet readers, we're taking the week off to catch up on some real-life work. In the meantime, we're re-posting some of our favorite recipes and essays. This one was written by Leigh in June 2009. Enjoy!

Fruit salad always seems like a good idea for picnics and barbecues. It’s beautiful; it’s summery; and unless it’s overrun with marshmallows and bananas (barf), it’s yummy. However, one thing you can count on when you take fruit salad to a party: you’ll be taking it right back home.

You can be assured there will be no leftover cheese, no leftover guacamole. Crudités has slightly better odds if it is accompanied by a good dip, but fruit salad…unless there is just no other food, you’ll be eating it for breakfast the next few days.

Unless you make this fruit salad: based on Giada de Laurentiis’ Watermelon and Cantaloupe Salad with Mint Vinaigrette. It is seriously the best fruit salad ever. And there is nary a marshmallow (or banana) in sight.

I’ve made this salad several times, with various fruit combinations, and it never fails to please. Last summer, I made it for my birthday beach party, and two summers ago for a bridal shower fiesta. My mother even borrowed the recipe and wowed her Bible study group.

But never has it received the laud it got at the BBQ baby shower on Saturday. (No babies were BBQ’d, only meat and veggie burgs.) This gorgeous bowl of fruit went as quickly as the cheese platter and almost as fast as the guacamole. People were begging (okay, two people asked nicely) for the leftovers, of which there were few.

Luckily, it’s so, so easy, and cheap if the fruit you choose is in season. I strayed from the recommended melons, because A) I couldn’t find a watermelon that looked good and 2) I dislike cantaloupe almost as much as bananas. You can make this with any fruit you like.

Berries are fabulously in season up NYC way. For fun and color contrast, I threw in a mango and a peach. (For the crowd, I also doubled the recipe you see below; it’s easy to scale.)

Now, Giada’s giant smile calls for 1/4 cup of simple syrup for 4 cups of fruit. Hold up, pretty lady. That’s too much sugar, and, if you ask me, why most people avoid fruit salad. I cut the amount of syrup in half, even though I upped the amount of fruit by about a cup.

Otherwise, I kept the proportions the same. I also subbed almond extract for amaretto, since I didn’t have the liqueur on hand. There is probably some reason I should not have made the substitution in equal amounts, but it worked.

It’s a truly sublime concoction. Be prepared to give out the recipe and if you want some for yourself at home, make extra. That way you can still have fruit salad for breakfast.

Sublime Fruit Salad with Mint

Adapted from Watermelon and Cantaloupe Salad with Mint Vinaigrette by Giada de Laurentiis.
Yields approx 10 1/2-cup servings

1 pt strawberries, sliced
1 pt blueberries
1 mango, peeled and cubed
1 peach, peeled and cubed
1/8 cup simple syrup (see instructions)
1/4 cup lime juice (about 3 limes)
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/8 tsp almond extract

1) Make simple syrup and chill while prepping fruit.

2) Simple syrup = 1 part sugar to 1 part water. Bring water to a boil, stir in sugar until dissolved completely. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

3) Wash, peel, and chop fruit as desired.

4) In a blender, combine simple syrup, lime juice, chopped mint, and almond extract.

5) Toss syrup over fruit.

6) Chill (overnight is good) and serve. Practice saying, “thank you.” You’ll be getting lots of compliments.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price per Serving
56.6 calories, .1g fat, $.60

1 pt strawberries: 98 calories, 0g fat, $1.99
1 pt blueberries: 168 calories, 0g fat, $2.50
1 mango: 87 calories, 0g fat, $.75
1 peach: 68 calories, 0g fat, $.19
1/8 cup simple syrup: 104.6 calories, 0g fat, $.07
1/4 cup lime juice: 28.5 calories, .1g fat, $.30
1/2 cup fresh mint: 40 calories, 1g fat, $.50
1/8 tsp almond extract: negligible calories and fat, $.04
Totals: 594 calories, 1.1g fat, $6.34
Per Serving (Totals/10): 59.4 calories, .11g fat, $.63

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Melly said...

I have made this many times and love it more each time. You said you would get compliments when you take it a gathering. It is so good it never makes it out of my house.

April said...

I'm with Melly--I've made this many times, it is always delicious, and it always gets compliments!

Kris said...

Thanks, you guys! Leigh will be so happy to hear it.

shanabowes said...

Melly, does it take long to put together. I never have time but am trying to eat more salads. Are there any good salad bar restaurants that do the same sort of thing so that I can save time. I found a lot of hype about Sweet Tomatoes salads on some websites but never tried it. had lots of health and nutrition ideas but I've not eaten there.

Leigh said...

Y'all, this salad wins hearts everywhere it goes. I'm thrilled you're still digging it two years later.

shanabowes, for a fruit salad, it comes together pretty quickly, especially if you go heavy on the berries, which I do. For tomato/fruit salads, try tomatos and peaches together. Mmm...

Wait. Is that what you were asking? If not, free advice for everyone!

Emmy said...

Ive had this bookmarked *forever*, and finally made it last night for a snack/potluck/post-youth-group event at church. They were licking the bowl, I swear! Personally, I'd lower the amount of lime juice by half, and I'll probably torque up the mint, too. But It Is Fabulous! Thank you for sharing!