Fruit salad this time of year is often sweet. Juicy, ripe, fragrant fruit tossed with sweet dressings. It’s summer salad bliss, bite after bite. That said, I often feel compelled to snap these fruit salads out of dessert-land and lead them over to the savory side of the neighborhood. And that’s what we’re doing today.
Savory, Fruity Summer Salads
One of the more popular examples of this genre of salad is the (always popular) combination of watermelon, feta, and mint. You probably know it well. You get sweetness from the melon, salt from the feta, and the tingly herbaceous-ness of the mint. That’s one example, but there are many other ways to explore this realm. And there are many ways to accent and play off the soft sweetness of summer fruit. I thought we might work through some other ideas on the path to today’s recipe. Let’s brainstorm!
Summer fruits are often tender, so bringing crunch and texture to a preparation can be good. You might use fried onions, shallot, or toasted nuts. I think we can agree, few things aren’t improved by introducing deeply caramelized shallots – they’re a favorite component in this salad (or many salads, really). Beyond that, the introduction of a medley of green notes is often welcome and you can use a wide range of herbs, sprouts, or salad greens.
Today’s Pluot Summer Salad
This salad is all about the pluots. They are peak in the markets right now, so this recipe centers around them. If you can’t find great pluots, you might try a version with another stone fruit, or a blend of them. Plums, cherries, nectarines and the like are fair game. Here the fruit is set off with toasted ginger, garlic, and shallots. It is drizzled with a simple lime soy sauce dressing, and is generously flecked with herbs – mint, basil, and cilantro. Also, lots of toasted peanuts.
It’s also super adaptable. Bri noted in the comments below, “…right now, asian pears, persimmons, and pomegranates are in season, but no pluots or plums. I made a substitution with those three, minus the dried fruit, and it turned out wonderfully…”
A Couple of Notes
Make an effort to source good ginger. I can often find organic Hawaiian ginger, or locally grown ginger, and tend to stock up on that.
The recipe below features a soy sauce/shoyu dressing here, and I love it, but you can make the dressing substituting salt instead. The flavor of the fruit will come through more directly. It’s just a slightly simpler take. In that case, add the honey to the lime juice, as called for, then whisk in sea salt until the dressing tastes balanced and delicious to you.