As soon as warmer weather approaches, I start looking forward to summer fruits, especially berries and cherries. I love going to the market, and seeing all the stands filled with gorgeous and colorful produce. That’s my kind of guiltless candy shop. I wanted to make a fruit salad that was a bit different, with a bit more adult flavors so to say. And by adult, I don’t mean alcoholic.
Balsamic reduction is a staple in my pantry. I actually still remember the first time I tried it. I was having dinner with my parents at an Italian restaurant about 15 years ago, and we ordered an octopus salad that came with a balsamic reduction. We all loved it and my mom asked how to make it. Since then, she’s always had it in her pantry and when I moved out, I started to do the same.
To make the dressing, I reduced some elderflower cordial into the balsamic reduction. It adds a floral depth to the dish. The combination of the dressing and the juices from the fruits are a nice explosion of flavors in the mouth. Add the creaminess of the whipped goat cheese and crunchy pistachios, and you’ve got a great mix of textures as well.
This recipe serves 2.
1 cup of fresh cherries, pitted and halved
2 cups of strawberries, thinly sliced
3 oranges, segmented
¼ cup of unsalted pistachios, chopped
For the whipped goat cheese:
100gr of goat cheese
4 tablespoons of cream
For the dressing:
¼ cup of balsamic reduction
5 tablespoons of elderflower cordial
If you have never made balsamic reduction before, it is super easy to make. You don’t need a fancy bottle of balsamic vinegar; just get a cheap one, since it’s going to reduce a lot. Pour 250ml of balsamic vinegar into a pan. Reduce over medium-low heat until it has reduced to about 1/3 of a cup. Don’t let it get too thick though, as it will thicken as it cools down. If it gets too thick, you can always warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds to loosen it up. You can make this in advance and keep it in your pantry. I use it often so I normally make a bigger batch. It is very nice to drizzle over sautéed asparagus.
Prepare all of your fruit.
To make the whipped goat cheese, just place the goat cheese and cream in the food processor and pulse until smooth.
To make the dressing, place the balsamic reduction and elderflower cordial in a pan. Let it simmer over med-low heat for about 1-2 minutes, until it is all mixed. Don’t let it reduce too much, otherwise it will become a caramel and you won’t be able to pour it.
To plate up, pour some of the dressing on the plate. Then add the fruit. I formed quenelles with the whipped goat cheese. Finally, sprinkle some pistachios.