Like most of the baby boom generation, I grew up on the ubiquitous American iceberg lettuce salad with the usual assortment of dreary bottled dressings. It was only in adulthood that I discovered that fruit could be used to good effect in a salad—beyond the ghastly sweet coconut and marshmallow concoctions that sat high and proud on every family buffet of my youth.
I can still remember the REVELATION in my early 20′s of fresh, sweet-tart strawberries in an arugula salad with a tropical fruit dressing. And a mind-blowing pear and baby greens salad with blue cheese, candied walnuts, and poppy seed dressing. I was hooked from the first bites.
I’ve created dozens of variations on the savory fruit salad theme over the years and shared some of favorites with you here (see the list below).
So when I spied Charentais Melon & Venus Grapes with Torn Prosciutto, Pistachios, Lemon Yogurt, Goat Cheese & Mint this past week on the lunch menu at Wildwood Restaurant in Portland, I had to try it.
It was delicious of course and ripe for riffing.
My rendition swaps the grapes for perfect Northwest blackberries and ups the flavor a notch by including Blackberry Lime Syrup with Star Anise. I couldn’t detect the goat cheese in the Wildwood original, but you will definitely taste it in the Yogurt Chevre Dressing here.
A deep bow of appreciation to Chef Dustin Clark for his unflagging creativity, which is a constant source of inspiration. He is one of the reasons Portland Oregon is such a great place to live and eat.
Tuscan Melon & Blackberry Salad with Prosciutto & Yogurt Chevre Dressing
This gorgeous, end-of-summer salad will keep your taste buds at full alert from first to last bite. You might even lick the plate. It’s a simple salad really, especially if you make the blackberry sauce and yogurt dressing ahead. And because it is simple, it depends critically on perfect melon and blackberries, which are easy to find in Northwest farmers markets right now.
Yogurt Chevre Dressing (recipe below)
1 ripe Charentais, Dulcinea Tuscan, or regular cantaloupe melon
1 cup ripe blackberries
4 ounces prosciutto
2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds
fresh mint, cut into narrow shreds
- Prepare the Yogurt Chevre Dressing and Blackberry Lime Syrup with Star Anise. Reserve in the fridge.
- For each salad, use a flexible spatula to draw a smear of dressing across the plate.
- Arrange four melon slices on each plate, along with a mound of blackberries.
- Drizzle the syrup and then more of the dressing across the melon.
- Arrange 2 slices of prosciutto on opposite sides of the melon and then sprinkle the toasted almonds and shredded mint over the melon.
- Serve immediately.
Makes 4 salads.
Yogurt Chevre Dressing
I love this tangy dressing over most fruit, but especially ripe melon, peaches, nectarines, and plums.
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 ounce fresh goat cheese (2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons wildflower honey
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, goat cheese, honey, and lime juice.
- Taste and add a little more honey if you think the dressing should be a touch sweeter.
- Cover and refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days.
Make a generous ½ cup.
Additional LunaCafe Salads
- Caramelized Pear Salad with Gorgonzola, Candied Spiced Walnuts & Spicy Orange Vinaigrette
- Indian Summer Tomato, Orange & Sweet Onion Salad
- Summer Tomato, Sweet Onion & Blackberry Salad with Basil Mint Crema
- Prawn & Strawberry Salad with Fresh Herb Panna Cotta
- Sweet Cherry & Pea Vine Salad with Basil & Mint
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Copyright 2011 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.