tropical fruit salad with sweet ‘n spicy dressing
Let’s talk about fruit. Personally, I’m a fan! I love fruit — from your standard apples, pears, oranges and grapes to lychee, coconuts and carambola. I adore mangoes – but it isn’t mango season yet, so that post will have to wait until June. Citrus, however, is in season and many other tropical fruits are readily available too. Therefore, it seems like the perfect time to discuss fruit salad.
Curiously, I’ve found that while most people enjoy fruit in many forms, they won’t always go to the trouble of preparing it – even if the “prep” is just peeling the skin from an orange to eat it. Or rinsing and biting into an apple. It will sit on the counter attracting flies or in the fridge, going bad while chips and cookies (which generally have a shelf life extending into the next millennium) are consumed with time sensitivity of a snapchat. I have a theory.
First, fruit has to be easy. Readily available. As in — requiring no more effort than to chew. Second, it has to look appealing. It’s all about marketing. ( Why do you think Doritos come in a shiny red bag with neon orange chips beckoning on the front?) Just by taking the time to prep (10-15 minutes – max!) and proper marketing (presentation), plain old fruits take on more allure.
To test my hypothesis, I started putting clementines in my daughter’s lunch. Whole, unpeeled clementines. Mind you, a clementine’s peel comes off in approximately two seconds. There are no seeds. There is virtually nothing to get in the way of eating this fruit. Yet, day after day – those clementines came back in her lunchbox. Unpeeled. Uneaten.
Yesterday, I supremed the clementines and oranges, and mixed them with few other tropical fruits. I added a little dressing (which is fabulous) and when she came home, hungry after practice, I offered her a bowl. She inhaled it. She actually said, “This is just what I was hungry for.” V-I-C-T-O-R-Y!!!
The idea for this dressing has been ruminating in my head for a while. I was looking for a “salad dressing” for a fruit salad. It needed to have spice, heat, tang… Ginger, jalapeño, lime. Of course it also needed a sweet component — honey. Could it be that simple? I microwaved these components in two twenty-second intervals, stirred them and set aside to cool while I cut up the fruit. Wow! The ginger was tingly, jalapeño gave just the right amount of heat and the lime created a nice little pucker!
- 1-inch knob ginger root, peeled
- 1 jalapeño, minced, divided
- zest and juice of half a lime
- 1/4 cup honey
- carambola (starfruit)
- other fresh berries
- Use a microplane or fine grater to grate ginger onto a cutting board or into a bowl. Set a fine mesh strainer over a small microwaveable bowl. Transfer ginger pulp and any juices to the strainer. Press down on the pulp with the back of a spoon to capture the ginger's juices in the bowl. Discard solids.
- Add half the minced jalapeño, lime, zest and honey to the ginger juice.
- Microwave for 20 seconds on high. Stir. Microwave another 20 seconds or until mixture starts to bubble. Set aside to cool while you prep the fruit.
- Cut fruit into bite sized pieces and place in a medium bowl. Add the remaining minced jalapeño.
- If using citrus fruit like oranges or grapefruit, cut it into supremes. (If you're unsure about this method, I've found a You Tube link-- embedded above that explains the technique.
- Toss the salad with dressing just before serving.
- Ideal for breakfast with yogurt, granola and the dressing drizzled over the top.
- Yummy for dessert with some tea cookies or ice cream!