Cantaloupe and Cherry Fruit Salad with Maple Ginger Syrup
We're hitting the very end of cherry season in California. I made a fruit salad combining cherries and sweet cantaloupe. Once pitted and sliced, I let the fruits macerate in cardamom and ginger-flavored maple syrup until the juices begin to flow. I also spiced the fruit salad with thinly sliced candied ginger to accentuate the flavor.
This is a quick and easy dessert recipe that celebrates the end of the summer. There's probably a week or two left to enjoy cherries; otherwise you'll have to wait till next year or hit the frozen aisle of your market.
Yields: 6 servings1 pint fresh cherries, stemmed, washed, pitted and halved
1 cantaloupe, seeded, peeled and cut into large cubes
¼ cup maple syrup
1 (1-inch) chunk fresh ginger
2 cardamom pods
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon candied ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon verbena, finely minced
Freshly grated ginger: Clean the ginger root and remove any dirt. Peel the ginger root with a paring knife (or the edge of a spoon). Grate the ginger with a fine mesh Microplane. Gather about 1 teaspoon of grated ginger root.
Making cardamom and ginger maple syrup: Remove the cardamom seeds from the pods. In a mortar and pestle, grind the cardamom seeds. Crush all the nits and gather the cardamom powder. In a small saucepan, combine the maple syrup, cardamom powder, 2 teaspoons lemon verbena, the grated ginger and 1 tablespoon water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the stove and let cool completely. Strain through a fine mesh to make sure there are no solid left.
Prepping the cherries: Place the cherries in a bowl. Add the syrup and toss well until the cherries are coated with syrup. Let macerate until the juices begin to flow. You can chill in the refrigerator overnight if you want to prepare the fruit salad in advance.
Assembly time: Add lime juice to the cherries. Toss well. Add the cantaloupe pieces and candied ginger.
Serve at room temperature in individual serving dishes. Garnish with lemon verbena.
You could use other sweeteners such as honey or agave nectar.
You can find candied ginger in most Asian stores at a very reasonable price.
I used lemon verbena from the garden. If you don't have any, you could use fresh mint instead.Published By: on August 25, 2010.