While I know, and almanac.com confirms, that summer doesn't technically begin until June 21, I've always counted Memorial Day as the beginning of Summer. After all, don't the swimming pools open this weekend? Also it's the first day that it's appropriate to wear white, and nothing signals summer quite like a pair of white jeans (or shorts, if you happen to live in a place where it's just too darned hot to wear long jeans between Memorial Day and Labor Day.)
Holiday weekends are perfect for parties and eating out-of-doors. When we were invited to a picnic and asked to bring a side dish, I knew I wanted to use some of the beautiful fruit my fridge was harboring. This recipe for Summer Fruit Salad with Mint Sugar sounded like it would be pretty and tasty without being fussy and time-consuming to prepare.
- I found the recipe in my big yellow Gourmet Cookbook. This book, which I recommended in my Christmas cookbook post, is a serious goldmine of fantastic recipes. I've not hit on a dud yet, including the three that I've prepared in the past few days. If you don't have the cookbook, you can find the recipe here.
- The cookbook cautions, "simplicity is the key to a successful fruit salad, so don't yield to the impulse to include every fruit you see on your cruise through the produce section." The recipe mentions grapes, sweet cherries and peaches. Although I had cherries, I didn't end up using them because I had four other fruits begging to be included - strawberries, grapes, blueberries and cantaloupe - and I didn't want to push my luck.
- The mint sugar is simple to throw together in a mini-food processor, and then it's sprinkled on the cut and mixed fruit. Voila! A finished dish in minutes.
This salad was lovely and quite refreshing as a side dish at a cookout on a very warm (euphemism for very hot) day. The mint gave the fruit an extra kick of flavor and brightness, not to mention a pretty green color note.