I think there’s just about nothing as perfect as biting into a fragrantly ripe, excessively juicy nectarine, where the juices just run down your face and drip off your chin. Or possibly lying on a picnic blanket under a big sprawling tree in the summer sun, popping cherries into my mouth. Or maybe biting into a tart-sweet plum that both makes your lips pucker and your mouth water for the push-pull balance of tangy and syrupy.
I look forward with great anticipation to summer’s fruit every spring, and mourn it’s departure come late fall. If I had to choose one perfect season, it would, without a shadow of a doubt, be the summer.
And while I love each of these stone fruits on their own, I also love tossing them together in this perfectly simple salad. It’s a great finish to a big barbecue, a foolproof addition to a summer brunch, and excellent for a picnic.
Make the orange-vanilla syrup up to 3 days in advance, but cut and toss the fruit the same day you serve it.
Recipe: Summer Stone Fruit Salad
Serves 6 to 8
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Juice and zest of 1 orange
- 1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and seeds scraped out
- 4 ripe nectarines or peeled peaches, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 4 ripe apricots, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 4 ripe plums, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 2 cups pitted, halved sweet cherries (I used a mix of Bing and Rainier)
- 2 tbsp finely chopped pistachios