This is the best fruit salad for any summer occasion!
First of all, I have to give a shout-out for a HAPPY 4 Years to my wonderful husband. I have a feeling that our fifth year is going to be the most exciting yet!
Do you ever eat something at a restaurant that seems so simple yet so special at the same time? The kind of dish that sticks with you for years? A couple of summers ago, Matt and I had one of the most delicious meals at ad hoc in Yountville. Everything tasted amazing, but I left the restaurant thinking nonstop about the watermelon salad. It was served as an appetizer yet it was topped with financier croutons… cake for dinner! It was a lovely combination of sweet and savory to kick off a fantastic meal.
This fruit salad was highly inspired by that wonderful dinner in Napa. However, I took the flavor profile to a different direction. Sweet and juicy watermelon is tossed with fresh blueberries and basil then topped with a savory blueberry balsamic glaze (that sauce would be good on anything, even chicken or pork chops) and lemon cake croutons. I enjoyed the salad as is for a snack but it also made a perfect appetizer with the addition of feta cheese. Pair it with some grilled chicken for a light but satisfying summer dinner.
760 grams / 1 pound, 11 ounces (6 cups) watermelon cut into small cubes (~1/2 – 1 inch size)
140 grams / 5 ounces (1 cup) fresh blueberries
55 grams / 2 ounces (1/2 cup) feta cheese (optional but recommended)
10 grams (~1/2 cup) chopped fresh basil
1 cup lemon cake croutons (see below)
3 fluid ounces / 6 tablespoons blueberry balsamic glaze (see below)
Toss watermelon, blueberries, cheese and basil carefully in a large bowl
Top with croutons and drizzle with glaze; serve immediately
Lemon Cake Croutons
1 cup cubed day old lemon pound cake cut into small cubes (~1/2 inch size) – I used this recipe
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees; line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray
Place cake cubes onto prepared baking sheet and bake in oven for 7 minutes or until lightly browned on top; flip cubes over and bake for an additional 3 minutes or until lightly browned
Note: Croutons can be used warm and are best served within several hours of preparation; store in an airtight container after making
Blueberry Balsamic Glaze
Adapted from Serious Eats
Makes 1 cup
4 fluid ounces (1/2 cup) good quality balsamic vinegar
280 grams / 10 ounces (2 cups) fresh blueberries, washed and dried
30 grams /1 ounces (~2 tablespoons) light brown sugar, tightly packed
1 gram (1/4) teaspoon salt
dash of lemon zest
Bring balsamic vinegar to a boil in a medium-sized heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat; reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the balsamic has thickened and reduced to about two tablespoons
Stir in blueberries, brown sugar, salt and lemon zest; increase heat to medium and bring to a boil; then reduce heat to low and simmer for ~10 minutes until sauce is reduced and thick, stirring occasionally to crush berries
Remove from heat and serve or chill in refrigerator up to one week