When I was planning the potluck a couple months ago, I felt this heavy obligation to include something fresh and healthy and altogether not filled with cheese. I wouldn’t dare include an actual leafy salad, so I settled for something ruinable: summer fruit salad with mint and balsamic.
This is the perfect dish for late summer months, when the fruit is ripe and mint draws in a heavily desired coolness. The addition of nice balsamic vinegar adds to the complexity of the dish, making it proper company fare, so you can pretend you eat like this all the time and don’t actually sit down in front of Workaholics with an entire wheel of goat cheese and a diet Coke in a Memphis Grizzlies plastic cup. Who does that? Yeesh.
You don’t, of course, have to add any sugar, but I think it balanced out the balsamic nicely.
On that note, I beg of you, make sure you buy nice balsamic vinegar! It should not smell like vinegar; it should smell sweeter and stickier and much more complex. Ideally, pick up a bottle that’s aged 12 years or more. If you use cheap crap, your salad will taste like Easter eggs smell. Avoid that.
When it comes down to it, this is less of a recipe and more like guidelines. The individual palate and the sweetness of the fruit will vary wildly, so build to please. Add more mint, if you like, or less. More sugar, or none at all. Skip the balsamic, or go wild with a sweetened mint reduction! Add a little feta? Because it actually does feel wrong to make something that isn’t stuffed with cheese.
Summer Fruit Salad
4 nectarines, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 peaches, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 pounds sweet cherries, pitted and cut in halves
4 apricots, quartered
1 pint blackberries
2 teaspoons nice balsamic vinegar
4 leaves mint, chopped fine
1/4 cup sugar
Combine all ingredients and let rest for at least thirty minutes before serving.5