So, it's the first official day of summer today - are you as excited as I am? I just love the idea of summer, it evokes so many happy memories - sun, sand, grilling, produce, green lawns, sprinklers, ice cream... I could go on and on. It's a really fun time of year but also one of the busiest, in my opinion. Between weddings, baby showers, holidays, graduations, cookouts, triathlons and vacations, it seems every weekend is jam-packed for us. So today I thought I'd share a simple summer salad - one that takes advantage of a bountiful assortment of the best fruit summer has to offer and, even better, one you can put together in less than 15 minutes.
The ingredient that makes this salad extra special is mint sugar. Two ingredients, fresh mint leaves and sugar, that when pulsed together in your food processor create a vibrant green topping for the fruit. There are probably a number of other awesome ways you could use the mint sugar, but I definitely suggest starting with fruit salad. The mint flavor is refreshing, and not at all overpowering. Topped with a dollop of whipped cream, or served with a fluffy piece of angel food cake, this could also be transformed into a dessert with a serious wow factor.
My mint plant is thriving for now so hopefully this won't be the last batch of mint sugar I whip up in my kitchen! My herbs always seem to start off well then die a slow death come July, for reasons that are still very much a mystery to me. I'm hoping this year will be the exception - fingers crossed :) If you make the mint sugar and discover another way you love it, please come back and share with all of us!
Summer Fruit Salad with Mint Sugar
from Gourmet, July 2004 (via Epicurious)
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 lb blackberries (I used a mix of blackberries and blueberries)
3 firm-ripe medium peaches, pitted, and cut into 1/3-inch-thick wedges
1/2 lb seedless red grapes (1 1/2 cups), halved
Add the mint leaves and sugar to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely ground. Combine the fruit in a large bowl. Add the mint sugar and toss gently to coat the fruit. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.