Having returned from Paris a few pounds heavier than when I left (imagine that), I thought it might be wise to pick up some fresh fruit to keep on-hand to satisfy my daily pangs for something sweet. Now that’s not to say that I didn’t eat any fruit while in France, because I did, its just that the fruit I ate there was almost always nestled in a big pillow of pastry cream, or resting comfortably in a butter-rich pâte sucré shell…..oh dear.
Thinking back to all the fabulous treats I ate while there, I can only think of one thing to say…..
VIVE LA FRANCE!
I can’t think of any other place on Earth where I’d rather pack on a few pounds than in France, can you? Without exception, the pastries we ate there were so dangerously good they should have come with warning labels. Though to be fair, the odds of our actually heeding their warnings would have been about NIL, but I’m just sayin’.
Anyway, a nod to spa cuisine is in order around these parts, don’t worry, it’ll be just a nod, maybe even just a wink, a quick day-trip if you will….be careful not to blink, or you might miss the whole thing…..lord knows we won’t be here long!
This fruit salad is my twist on a fruit soup dish that I learned at Le Cordon Bleu. It is really delicious, keeps well for a handful of days in the fridge, and is so versatile that you’ll be spooning some on practically everything you eat. I’ve been eating a bunch of it lately for breakfast, with a little scoop of greek yogurt, and a sprinkling of my vanilla-spice granola on top. That sounds almost healthy and sensible, doesn’t it?
We also enjoyed some the other night served over split, buttered and griddled buttermilk biscuits with a dollop of chantilly cream. Ok….Ok…. I know that the chantilly is a bit over the top, and certainly not in keeping with our spa moment here, but to be honest, I’m a little concerned that giving up cream cold-turkey will be dangerous to my health. I mean, if you go from eating 1 quart of just about ANYTHING a day to suddenly nothing, its gonna hurt, don’t you think?
This salad is a great thing to keep on-hand for the kids’ afternoon snack, and is a wonderful dish to bring to a neighborhood cookout. The key to the dish (other than to have perfectly ripe, seasonal fruit) is the sauce that you make to pour over it. It consists of simple syrup, banana, vanilla and basil, and it adds some flavor elements that really set this salad apart.
If you DO want to make a fruit soup out of this, just double the sauce recipe et voila, a soup you will have. If you go that route, serve the soup well chilled, with a few fresh basil leaves on top for garnish.
for the sauce:
- 1 cup 50/50 simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)
- 1 cup orange juice
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Seeds from 2 vanilla bean pods
- 15 large, fresh basil leaves
- 1 banana, peeled and chopped
for the salad
- 2 1/2 - 3 pounds of your favorite fruits, pitted or peeled as necessary, and cut into bite-sized chunks. For our salad we used, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, kiwis, pineapple, peaches, and blueberries.
- Place all of the sauce ingredients into a blender and blend on high speed until you have a sauce with a nice smooth consistency.
- Place the prepared fruit in a bowl and pour the sauce over the mix, cover and place in a fridge for a least a couple of hours so that the flavors meld. Serve sprinkled with a julienne of fresh basil if you wish.