So I stood in the kitchen with my brother, and Elliott standing on a chair, cutting up fruit into uniform pieces and putting it all in a large, plastic bowl. Andy and I both cut, quickly. Elliotts sole contribution was to reach into the bowl, grab a piece of banana or orange, and say, "Can I eat this?" By the time we were finished, we only had half a fruit salad, because Elliott had eaten the rest.
When I lived with the CFP in London, we ate lavish fruit salads nearly every day. Even in the dead of winter, mangoes arrived in a black cab from Harrods. Extravagant, and a bit ridiculous, these fruit concoctions were still wonderfully satisfying.
The real secret was a Tahitian vanilla bean, stripped of its innards and snipped into pieces. All of it went in with the fruit, then sat in the refrigerator, marinating and slithering into all the slices, until the fruit salad tasted richer than it actually was. Winter, spring or summer this secret makes every fruit salad decadent.
Of course, you could use any combination of fruit you have on hand for this. It will all taste divine.
2 Mineola oranges, peeled (try rolling the oranges before peeling)
2 ripe bananas, peeled
1 ripe mango, stripped of its skin
1 pint strawberries (when they are in season), leaves topped off
1/2 pint blueberries, ripe and juicy
3 kiwis, peeled
Juice of two limes
Zest of two limes
1 vanilla bean (Tahitian, if possible)
2 tablespoons organic cane juice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1. Cut all the pieces of fruit into uniform size, about one-half-inch cubes (or small enough bites for a child). As time-consuming as this might seem, the uniformity of size will make the differences in textures even more interesting. Put the fruit into your favorite bowl.
2. Cut down the center of the vanilla bean with a small, sharp knife, then peel back the beans skin. Carefully, scrape the gritty innards of the vanilla bean into the bowl. Next, snip the vanilla bean into the tiniest pieces possible, using your best kitchen shears.
3. Add the lime juice, lime zest, organic cane juice (or regular sugar, if you wish), and nutmeg to the fruit. Stir it all up, gently.
4. For the fullest, richest taste, allow this concoction to marinate in the refrigerator overnight before serving. If you wish, fish out the bits of vanilla bean before serving.
5. Wait for your guests to rave. If you truly want to be kind, top the fruit salad with a dollop of creme fraiche.
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