Using seasonal winter fruit is a wonderful way to add a little pizzaz to any winter meal. Although there are slim pickings at the grocery store right now Florida citrus, North Carolina apples and California dried fruit should fit the bill. A mistake that most people make when working with fruits and salad is to use regular white or apple cider vinegar. These vinegars are high in acid content and mask the delicate flavor of the fruit. Why not try some of the readily available light vinegars currently available at your local speciality shops or grocer.
Let’s examine some of the available complientary vinegars available for pairing with fruit. Rice wine is a favorite of Japanese cooks, traditionally used for making sushi, rice vinegar makes very smooth vinegrettes. Wine vinegar is another choice that is naturally lower in acid and is available made from individual varieties of wine such as sherry, pinot grigio or even champagne. In Italy balsamic is king; made from the grape must, a by product of wine making, It is a very dark brown in color and is aged upto 100 years in wodden casks. Although having a higher acid content, the curing and sweetness of the ingredients give it a mellow quality.
Here are a few simple recipes to get you started once you learn the savory side of fruits you can become more adventurous. Vary your greens, don’t buy the premade blends, make your own. Buy raddichio, bibb and romaine to make an Italian style blend. Arugula, baby spinach and endive make a interesting mix that will stand up to some very strong flavors. Experiment and come up with your own blends, experiment with different fruits and varities and always use a good quality oil. I have included a short video on how to clean citrus. Go ahead and brighten up you winter dining with fruit and a little love.
Orange, Feta and Black Olive Salad by Joseph V. Fasy
1 bunch arugula
1 bunch baby spinach
1/2 cup pitted and halved Kalamata olives
1 cup crumbled feta
2 navel oranges peeled and segmented
1/4 cup thin sliced red onion
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons of white wine vinegar
Clean and combine lettuce in a bowl
Add all ingredients and toss gently
Serve directly as this will wilt, may combine all but oil and vinegar and toss last minute.
Traditional Waldorf Salad adapted from the Waldorf Astoria recipe
1 cup diced skin on red delicious apple
1 cup diced skin on golden delicious apple
1 cup diced celery
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2 heaping Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon honey
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup green grapes
Stir together the mayo, honey and lemon juice.
Combine all ingredients together and chill until ice-cold.
If desired, serve on a bed of Boston lettuce and garnish with green grapes
Basalmic, Honey and Dried Blueberry by Joseph V. Fasy
4 cups romaine cut in 2″ ribbons
1 bulb fennel, thin sliced as possible, chop and use some fronds
1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup angel hair parmesan
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
couple of turns of fresh cracked black pepper
Homemade garlic croutons
Plump dried blueberries in Balsamic vinegar, 1 hour
Combine lettuce, fennel bulb and tomatoes in a large mixing bowl
Add almonds, cheese, blueberries mix and olive oil and toss
Serve right away with croutons and extra cheese.