Thursday, August 4, 2011

Summer Fruit Salad

Summer Fruit Salad

This is such a cheerful little salad with a playful combination of ingredients: arugula, mango, strawberry, cilantro, green onion, grapes and avocado. The poppyseed dressing is spiked with a kick of fresh ginger and is such a refreshing surprise, lightening up a typically heavier dressing. What a perfect salad to entertain with, since it requires such little effort to make and yet is so fresh and different from your normal run of the mill stand-by bagged variety. This would pair beautifully with grilled fish or chicken and a roasted or steamed vegetable on the side (zucchini, perhaps?) Make sure you have the recipe handy because people will ask.

Summer Fruit Salad

For some reason, salads confound me. They seem like they should be so simple to prepare, almost a no-brainer, but to me they are complex with many variables to consider. This of course is only true is you much care about the type of salad you are going to eat. I have a friend who just tosses lettuce with whatever vegetables are left in her fridge, with whatever dressing is available and calls it a day. That is fine for some, but in my case I only really enjoy salad if there is some purpose behind it. Which lettuces will I use? Do I want just one or do I want to mix different types of lettuces up for texture? If the greens are sturdy like romaine I can add substantial crunchy ingredients, like cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado and sprouts. If I use butter lettuces or delicate ones like baby greens, spinach or arugula the game changes. Nuts, seeds, goat cheese, fruit and or dried cranberries become appropriate. Small bites of things to accent the lettuce. Then you have to think about combinations, or which toppings go together and make sense. Is buttery a welcome ingredient? Then add some avocado or beets, but only if it compliments the other mix-ins. Then, there is the dressing. The dressing makes or breaks a salad. If you were to toss this summer fruit salad with a Thousand Island dressing, for example (and I really, really hope you wouldn't) it would wreck the whole thing. Poppyseed dressing is slightly sweet and compliments the fruit flavors involved. The cilantro, arugula and green onion along with the fresh ginger make it savory. Its a wonderful balance and was put together with thoughtful intention, so consequently, I enjoy it very much.

Summer Salad
adapted from Southern Living magazine
serves 4-6

1/2 cup bottled poppy seed dressing
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 avocados, thinly sliced
4 cups loosely packed arugula
2 cups green seedless grapes, cut in half
1 mango, julienned or cut into chunks
1 c diced fresh strawberries
1/4 c thinly sliced green onions
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro

Mix the poppyseed dressing with the fresh ginger and it let sit while you assemble the rest of the salad, at least 15 minutes.

Toss the arugula with the rest of the fruit and herbs in a large bowl. Serve with the dressing on the side.

9 comments:

  1. You make and take pictures of such YUMMY food!!!!

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  2. love this salad..all of the ingredients. A+++!!

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  3. My Mom has a pink grapefruit tree out in her back yard. We often pair it with avocado!

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  4. I love fruit salads like this, Krysta! Your photos captured the salad beautifully. Very nice job!

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  5. I am making this delicious-looking recipe tomorrow for my sister and family when they come to town. Since we don't currently have a grill, I think I'll make it with baked chicken. And I'm also going to make the zucchini with parmesan and the tomato & basil pasta recipes you've posted earlier! (Hope those all will go well together. I'm not much of a "foodie" - ha!) I was going to make the peach cobbler, but Isabel decided to make a jello cake. :)

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