When planning my first ever BBQ, I was on the hunt for a refreshing, non-lettuce based salad that could be enjoyed as a started while the steak tips, corn and other goods were on the grill. So with a little bit of some recipe searching and my own substitutions and tweaks, this is what evolved. And it is now requested on a fairly regular basis.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I didn’t actually try this salad before serving it to my guests (I’m an awful hostess, I know) and I was honestly TERRIFIED it didn’t come out how I had hoped. But, I let one of my friends take a huge tub of it home that night and then I actually texted him the next day to tell him I regretted sending as much home with him because I tried some as a snack and was hooked.
Grilled Fruit Salad in a Lemon-Herb Dressing
Serves: 6-8 (a very rough estimate)
4 – 6 plums, pitted and cut into quarters
4 – 6 medium sized peaches, pitted and cut into quarters
1 pint of fresh bluberries, washed and picked free of stems and debris
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 tsp fresh thyme
For the fruit — Spray the grill with nonstick cooking spray and preheat to a medium heat. Place the fruit on the grill until the grill marks start to appear, typically 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the fruit from the grill and let cool. Once cooled, cut the fruit to bite-sized chunks. As an example, I typically cut each wedge in thirds. Place the fruit in your serving bowl and add the blueberries, mixing together. Set aside while you prepare the sauce.
For the dressing — Add the sugar and water together in a small saucepan, over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Let the mixture come to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Add the lemon juice, zest, ginger and thyme and let simmer for approximately 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for about 10 – 15 minutes. Pour the dressing over the fruit, using a mesh strainer to remove the lemon zest, ginger and thyme remnants.
Carefully toss the salad to make sure the syrup has coated all of the fruit. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
I prefer to line the grill with some heavy-duty foil to minimize the cleanup effort and sticking. Also, with or without the foil, it’s important to spray the nonstick cooking spray BEFORE starting the grill. At least if you are attached to your eyebrows.
As for the mesh strainer, I’ve found that the mesh saucepan covers that I use when making tomato sauce work really well.
Other herb flavors that work nicely with this dressing are, in no particular order, mint (also nice as a garnish if you want to be fancy), rosemary and basil. Playing around with the flavors is half the fun!
And lastly, this salad is almost just as delicious with freshly chopped fruit, no grilling required. Which is great if you are in a rush and have people invading your kitchen, waiting to be fed.