Let the flavor do the talking – when you find ripe peaches, plums, and apricots from the farmers market, this salad lets them take center stage.
While this salad is a rainbow of summer produce, it’s just a happy coincidence. You see, I didn’t design this salad for color – I take my summer stone fruits seriously (very seriously). When I get my hands on perfectly ripe peaches, plum, or apricots, I do everything I can to let their natural flavor shine. The last thing I do to a good, ripe peach, is add sugar or cook it down. If I subject a good peach to that, it’s because I have an overabundance – not a problem I complain about.
As I was saying… every ingredient in this salad is designed to complement the stone fruits, including the blackberry basil dressing. Blackberries aren’t just for color – their acidity and tartness balance the sweeter fruits.
Goat cheese, almonds and arugula add enough complexity without overpowering the stone fruits’ honeyed-nectar flavor. Mint, mozzarella, and hazelnuts would make great substitutions if you’d like.
Stone Fruit Salad with Blackberry Basil Dressing
- 8 oz blackberries 1 basket
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 Tbs champagne or white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup chopped basil leaves*
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 2 peaches
- 2 plums or pluots
- 3 apricots
- 1 avocado
- 10 oz arugula
- 4 oz herb goat cheese*
- 2 oz almonds
TOAST THE ALMONDS – SET A TIMER
- Chop the almonds.
- Heat a pan over medium heat, add the almonds (no oil). Toast until golden brown, anywhere from 5-10 minutes. Set a timer to check at 5 minutes, and every 1 minute after, they can burn fast.
MAKE THE DRESSING
- Add blackberries to blender and puree (do not add basil leaves yet). Run puree through a fine mesh sieve to remove seeds.
- Combine blackberry puree with the honey, vinegar and basil. Then slowly add in half of the olive oil, whisking to combine. Taste. Add more oil if you desire – NOTE that too much oil dramatically reduces the blackberry flavor, which is why I kept it as low as possible.
MAKE THE SALAD
- Cut the stone fruit and avocado into slices (or chop them).
- Place arugula on each plate and top with fruit and avocado. Crumble goat cheese on top. Add toasted almonds. Drizzle with dressing. Serve!
- Choosing & storing peaches, plums, nectarines, and apricots – These fruit don’t transport well, so big grocery stores tend to get them underripe, losing a lot of flavor. For this salad, it’s worth seeking out the best ones you can find, so stop by a farmers market and smell every piece of fruit. It should have a great flowery or peachy aroma. Store at room temperature, stem end down (they bruise easy, so be careful when bringing them home). Once fully ripe, refrigerate for 1-3 days until ready to use (though I try to use them the day I buy them).
- No need to peel the fruit – wash the fruit (be gentle), but all of the skins are edible and add to the flavor.
- Cutting avocados – if you’re like me, you’ve watched a pro behind a specialty sandwich shop scoop the flesh out of an avocado and smartly try to mimic that at home. It works well enough. However, I’ve learned the easier way to do it is cut the avocado in quarters, then just peel the skin right off!
Salad & Blackberry Basil Dressing Inspiration
I had been eyeing this grilled nectarine & prosciutto salad from The Food Union for a while. If you want to make it, I won’t be offended, it looks delicious and I fully intend to try that version too. But I had very ripe fruit and wanted to use it raw, so I didn’t grill it. Although, I highly encourage you to add prosciutto (I’ve done it, and of course it’s excellent). Doing so will add 50-100 calories and salty richness, so you might want to cut back on the goat cheese. Also, if you add prosciutto and want to pair with wine, the bubbles in sparkling wine work to balance fat and salt. Try a sparkling Rose!
The blackberry basil dressing credit goes to Tide & Thyme. However, I always add ingredients a little at a time and taste as I go. I found that as I whisked in the olive oil, the blackberry flavor diluted fast. So I kept the olive oil to a minimum.
Round out the meal
To make this a stand-alone meal, you could add a little bit of quinoa for more substance and protein. You could also serve it with a light portion of pork tenderloin or ham. Also a light, salty soup would complement it nicely.