If you enjoy making fruit salads as part of your summer fare during picnics and family get-togethers, you’re going to love the suggestions we have for you here. Knowing how to combine the right blend of fruits in a salad, either alone or with other ingredients, is the first step to creating fruit salads that impress and delight your guests.
Certain fruits are better candidates for a combination of greens and fruit salad, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment a little to find new flavors you enjoy. Summer melons like honeydew and cantaloupe are always good, but a number of different fruits and berries are equally compatible with some basic greens such as romaine lettuce or other mixed varieties. Consider adding, for instance, grapefruit segments to add zip and zing to an otherwise traditional spinach salad. It’s all about the flavors playing off each other.
If it’s just fruit in the salad you’re making, the sky’s the limit as to what you might combine for a delicious treat with your meals. Lots of different berries are in season in the warmer months, so consider adding two or three different varieties to a more basic fruit salad made with bananas, apples, and grapes. A little splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice will help keep everything fresh.
Stick with a light dressing, like a vinaigrette that’s not too strong or too sweet. This will allow the tartness and sweetness of the strawberries, mango, peaches, cranberries, or whatever you use to come through in the salad. And, don’t forget the texture. Adding some roasted almonds adds a bit of crunch and depth in flavor to this type of salad creation. The salty flavor of the nuts also compliment the sweetness of the fruit. Using opposing flavors will often ‘marry’ the ingredients together, creating a perfectly blended compliment of flavors.
You only need a slice or two of an exotic, unusual fruit to create excitement in a salad. Star fruit, dragon fruit, dates, apricots, figs, and papaya are just some suggestions, and they don’t have to be considered a dessert salad either. Combining one or two of these fancy fruits in a mixed green salad, chicken salad, tuna salad, shrimp salad, crab salad, or meat based salad could create quite a buzz at your next dinner.
Remember, there’s also a selection of spices and herbs that do wonders to perk up a fruit salad. And don’t just think about sweet spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. Mixing hot pepper flakes or chili powder with sweet ingredients often is the perfect compliment. Savory herbs like rosemary, dill, and thyme are also surprising when used to enhance fruit salads.
When Presentation Matters the Most
Special occasions may call for a salad that looks as good as it tastes. This is where you employ additional ingredients and combine colors and layers to make a presentation and a statement with your delicious creation.
Use a melon baller, for instance, to scoop up delicate pieces of the melons you choose. Then, include layers of color with blueberries, blackberries, sliced cherries, or raspberries. Garnish your fruit salad with lemon balm or mint leaves for extra color. Other fruit favorites include fresh pineapple, kiwi, or tangerine slices. Think about shapes, sizes, and color, then mix and match for a salad that looks as good as it tastes.
Mixing fresh fruit with creamy layers of vanilla pudding is another pretty salad to serve guests for a special dinner party. Add a little whipped cream and a maraschino cherry on top for a final touch. A similar look is possible by mixing cream cheese and condensed milk together for the base that holds your favorite fresh fruits.
Drain your fruits well before combining them, then you can even make a gourmet version of the old fashioned fruit salads found on holiday tables many years ago. Make it gourmet by using crème fraiche and lots of fresh fruit, including berries, and even roasted nuts.
These suggestions are just a quick look at the possibilities for making gourmet fruit salads using your imagination and good taste. Having a healthy appetite for adventure will spur on the type of creativity you’ll need to make splendid fruit salads that are an unexpected pleasure.
1 pint ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 pint ripe blueberries, washed and dried
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp light olive oil
1 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 Tbsp minced shallot
1/8 tsp smokey paprika
1/4 tsp kosher salt
12 oz baby spinach
bleu cheese crumbles
Clean strawberries and blueberries and put in large bowl.
Whisk together in a separate bowl the vinegar, olive oil, sugar, poppy seeds, shallot, paprika, and salt, until frothy – then pour over berries.
Let berries marinate for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
Divide spinach between individual salad bowls.
Spoon marinated berries over the top of each salad, then top with a sprinkling of walnuts and bleu cheese crumbles.