I've never found fruit salads to be particularly appealing. They often turn up at picnics: a hodgepodge of fruit that has no business being in the same bowl, peaches mixing with oranges, bananas, grapes and apples, all coated in a too-sweet juice. They're envisioned as desserts, but I've mostly steered clear of them. But that was before I discovered a savory autumn fruit salad recipe that's truly the bees' knees.
Late summer and early autumn brings some of my favorite produce to French market stalls. It doesn't take much thought or effort to see that these seasonal fruits go well together. But instead of serving them for dessert, I serve them for dinner.
Cantaloupe, blackberries, white peaches and figs don't take much to go from dessert to main course. After all, when fruit is good, it shows a complexity of flavor that's ideal for combining with savory ingredients.
The first stop, in France at least, was the fromager. I picked an ashed Selles-sur-Cher goat cheese, but any local goat cheese will do the trick nicely. All you need after that is an excellent quality olive oil and a bit of late summer arugula and basil, and dinner is served.
An Early Autumn Savory Fruit Salad Recipe
Cut the cantaloupe into wedges, about eight for a small melon. Cut the figs into quarters and the peach into eighths.
On a large serving plate, scatter the arugula. Place the goat cheese on top. Arrange the fruit around the cheese.
Drizzle the fruit and goat cheese with excellent olive oil.
Cut the basil leaves into a chiffonade and sprinkle over the top. Crack some black pepper over the dish. Serve immediately with excellent bread.
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Images: Emily Monaco