Thursday, August 23, 2007

Stone Fruit Salad

Sometimes you just want to mix it up. I am as guilty as anyone of falling back on the time honored tossed green salad as a side to just about any entree, at least for the regular day-to-day meals. And there's nothing wrong with green salad but let's face it, seeing it come to the table night after night shows an astonishing lack of creativity (despite the multitude of variations on the theme).

The other night we were having hamburgers for dinner and I wanted to do something a little different and hit on this idea for showcasing the splendid stone fruits that are available just now. You can make this with any combination of stone fruits that you like; I happened to have an abundance of nectarines and 2 kinds of plums at my disposal. Peaches and apricots would also be very nice. It was a refreshing twist on the concept of salad and the fragrance that wafted up was purely the perfume of summer.

Stone Fruit Salad
1 1/2 to 2 pounds of fresh stone fruit, in any combination (plums, nectarines, peaches, apricots, etc).
1 T. fresh basil, roughly chopped*
1 T. (or so) rice wine vinegar
1 T. (or so) olive oil

Cut fruit in half and remove stones. Slice fruit into thickish slices (you want heft) and place in a bowl. Sprinkle fruit with the basil. Drizzle on the vinegar and olive oil...not too much, just enough to add a little flavor and liquid to the dish. Toss. Can be made a few hours ahead but bring to room temperature to serve so the flavors of the fruit are not bowed by the cold.

I don't even know why I said to chop the basil. I never do. I find the quickest way to treat fresh basil is to stack the leaves and roll them up like a cigar and snip into a chiffonade with a pair of kitchen shears.

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