Queenie Cooks: Refreshing Summer Fruit Salad

By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: August 17, 2019 | 8:05 a.m.

With fresh fruit so abundant – and delicious – this time of year, it almost feels like a crime not to have at least one really good fresh fruit salad recipe on hand.   So here’s a favorite of mine.    

Honestly, I love most any fruit, but right up there among my absolute favorites are blueberries, strawberries, and peaches – if you can catch that very short real, fresh, juicy peach season. If you can’t, nectarines work nearly as well.  And in either case, you do need at least a simple dressing to enhance but not overpower the fruit.  And since it seems a shame to weigh down the real, fresh fruit goodness with sugar – not to mention the fact that it often means that diabetics can’t partake – I like to use a very simple recipe made up of  honey, fresh lemon juice, and fresh basil or mint.  Besides being sooooo tasty, nothing could be simpler to make! 

When I made this, I had an abundance of fresh basil growing out back – I always overplant because I love basil in a Caprese salad, fresh pesto, basil lemon jelly – if I could figure out how to make basil ice cream I’d probably try that.  So anyway,  I too, some nice, juicy lemons, a bit of local honey, and some of my special basil and whipped it all up in a hurry – and it was wonderful!

All that was left was to decide what other fruits I wanted.  I honestly believe you could use any fruit you like, but I was determined to find something aromatic with varied textures and great color.  First thing I saw in the grocery store was a special on some beautiful, perfectly ripe, fragrant strawberries.  Score!  Last time I made this I used nectarines because peaches were hard as brickbats and had no aroma at all.  And blueberries are just good in anything, you know?  So now I had all my fruits and dressing ingredients lined up, I pulled out my “secret ingredient” to give it all just the right little kick and elevate something good into something fabulous – Feta Cheese!  

Now that I had all the ingredients assembled, I was ready to whip up THE perfect fruit salad.  

And you know what?  It very nearly was.  I quickly washed all the fruit, then capped and quartered the strawberries and nectarines. And I have to say that, all nestled in my biggest clear bowl, they were a feast for the eyes. The crowning touch was that it had just stopped raining and when I picked the basil it was so shiny and smelled so good!  So I chopped up some of the leaves and started juicing lemons.  Now, the original recipe called for 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, one tablespoon of honey, and 3 basil leaves.  Considering that I had just cut up enough fruit to feed the proverbial army, well… confession time.  I honestly just put together roughly equal amounts of honey and lemon, dropped in some chopped basil leaves and taste-test adjusted the dressing until it was – as Goldilocks would say – jussssst right.  

Now came the only hard part.  I knew that the salad would be best if dressed just before serving, and there were still three hours left until dinner – and my brain might have been saying, “Have patience” but my mouth was drowning that voice out with “I want it NOW!”  So  I spooned out some fruit, drizzled on a bit of the dressing, sprinkled it with a bit of feta cheese, and oh MY was that good!  Of course, it MAY have taken three taste “tests” tp be SURE that it was worthy of serving to others, but hey!  That’s just being a caring person, right?  And as I later watched everyone going back for seconds – and thirds – I knew that this simple fruit salad really WAS the winner I’d hoped for.   

And that’s basically it!  When you make this, do feel free to use whatever fresh fruit You like.  I can’t think of any kind that wouldn’t be good.  And by all means experiment a bit with the dressing ingredient proportions.  Since I wanted this to serve as a dessert as well as a salad, I upped the honey proportion.  And I certainly used extra basil leaves because – well, I love basil!  If you aren’t a fan, or don’t have any handy, you could leave that out or use fresh mint instead for a refreshing change.  But I have to say that for a truly fresh, “This is Summer” taste that even Goldilocks would approve – this one is really going to be hard to beat!  Enjoy!

PS:  Thanks to everyone who’s been emailing me at smilinatyanow@aol.com and sharing your experiences with my recipes – and your favorite recipes as well!  I love your feedback, your ideas, and just hearing from other folks who love to cook – or, at least, to eat!  


Scrumptious Summer Salad

  • 2 – 3 Cups fresh strawberries
  • 2 Cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 Cups fresh, ripe peaches – or nectarines (about 3 large)
  • 1 Cup crumbled feta cheese

Dressing

  • Juice of 1 lemon* +/-
  • 1 tablespoon honey* 
  • 3 fresh basil (or mint) leaves, finely chopped*
    * For proportions, only.  When using this much fruit, you’ll need about ¾ Cup total dressing

Wash the fruit. Cap and quarter the strawberries.  Cut the nectarines into pieces about the same size as the strawberry pieces.  Place all three fruits a large serving bowl.  In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, and chopped basil leaves. When ready to serve, lightly toss the fruit with the dressing and sprinkle each serving with feta cheese.

Copyright 2019 by Womack Publishing
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