A Bounty of Summer Stone Fruit in a Salad

Summer Stone Fruit Salad (Wendy Goodfriend)

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.

Nectarines, plums and apricots for the Summer Stone Fruit Salad
Nectarines, plums and apricots for the Summer Stone Fruit Salad (Wendy Goodfriend)

Recipe: Summer Stone Fruit Salad

Serves 6 to 8

    Ingredients:
  • 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

    Instructions:
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar and orange zest and juice. Add the vanilla bean pod and seeds. Bring to a boil and cook until the mixture becomes syrupy, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled.
  2. In a large serving bowl, toss together the fruit. Strain the chilled syrup into a liquid measuring jug and drizzle the fruit with the syrup. Toss gently, garnish with the pistachios, and serve.
Serve Summer Stone Fruit Salad.
Serve Summer Stone Fruit Salad. (Wendy Goodfriend)

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