I was recently on a media tour in California, during which I had dinner at a restaurant featuring local food (what shocker, I know). Everything was delicious, but my favorite thing that I ate that night was a stone fruit salad with pickled onions. It was sweet, with a lush vanilla dressing that wasn’t too perfumey – it simply enhanced the flavor of the fruit. I usually can’t stand vanilla in savory food, but this was amazing. The whole dish was perfect, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it after I returned home.
My neighbor and chief food taster has been badgering me for weeks to make pickled onions, and after eating this salad, I finally had a good excuse to whip some up. I used The Kitchn’s recipe below, and they turned out perfect! They’re quick pickled onions, and need only 30 minutes to sit – so make them first or ahead of time. They’re great in sandwiches or with pretty much anything, and they’re so pretty.
I went shopping specifically for brightly colored stone fruits to make this recipe with. The red and yellow plums, yellow peaches and orange nectarines were all local and popped with color on the plate and in the photos. The sweet flavor of the fruit with the tangy onions and goat cheese, and the smooth, creamy vinaigrette with tiny black seeds in it…the combination is sublime. Make this for an appetizer before steak or seafood; it’s refreshing and light. Love.
Just a note: I used canola oil in the dressing. I tried it with olive oil but kept getting distracted by the taste of the oil. If you don’t have canola oil, use grapeseed or avocado oil instead.
- 1/4 cup canola or other neutral oil
- 2 T champagne vinegar
- 1 vanilla bean split
- 1 t honey
- 1.5 lb stone fruit of any combination
- 1 4 oz log goat cheese softened
- 5 oz container of arugula
- Pickled onion recipe: http://bit.ly/1wCCnKD
Make the dressing:
Put the oil into a small pot and scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the oil.
Heat the oil and vanilla seeds in a small pot on the stove until warmed, then remove from the heat and let sit for 15-20 minutes while you make the salad.
Make the salad:
Halve the fruits and cut into 4-6 wedges per fruit, depending on size. Toss gently in a bowl.
Plate the salad by placing a large handful of arugula on each plate, then one quarter of the fruit mixture. Drop 1oz goat cheese on each salad and top with pickled onions to taste.
Once the salads are plated, finish the dressing by adding the vinegar and honey to the oil and, using an immersion blender, blend the dressing until completely emulsified.
Drizzle on the finished salads and serve.
I prefer this salad at room temperature, which lets the flavors from the fruit emerge.