When I bring a fruit salad to a brunch or party, I always, always get requests for the recipe. My secret is to (a) combine roasted fruit with fresh fruit for fun textural variety (here: fresh grapefruit and roasted plums); (b) think about color and what will pop and be beautiful together (the redness of the plums with their black skin against the pink grapefruit); (c) not use too many fruits (otherwise there will be flavor confusion; that’s why there are only two fruits in this fruit salad! Though note that other fruits like apricots, nectarines, mangoes, and pineapple are all great, too, and can be used in place of the plums or the grapefruit), and (d) toss the fruit with a spiced simple syrup to give it an unexpected edge (like cardamom syrup . . . yum!). Simple syrup is essentially a mixture of one part water to one part sugar that’s brought to a simmer to dissolve the sugar. That’s it—so easy. (You can add all kinds of spices and accents to simple syrup—see the Note for ideas.)
The cardamom syrup in this salad lends a floral, almost Turkish, feel—a splash of rose water or orange blossom water here would not be far-fetched. The recipe makes more than you’ll need for the salad, but good news: The rest can be refrigerated in an airtight container for a month. Use it to sweeten lemonade, iced coffee or tea, or hot chai; make a cocktail; drizzle over French toast or waffles. . . . You get the picture.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 2 teaspoons neutral vegetable oil (such as grapeseed or safflower)
- ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
- Pinch of flaky sea salt or kosher salt
- 6 plums (preferably with bright red flesh), halved,
- pitted, and each half cut into thirds
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- Squeeze of fresh lime juice
- 1 Ruby Red grapefruit
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves, plus a
- few leaves for serving
- 1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
- 2. Whisk the vegetable oil with 2 teaspoons sugar and the salt in a large bowl. Add the plums and toss to coat. Turn the plums out onto the prepared sheet pan, flesh-side down, and roast until they are soft and slightly singed, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. (For an even more caramelized flavor and appearance, after roasting place the sheet pan on the top oven rack under the broiler for a few minutes to char the plums slightly around the edges.)
- 3. Combine ¼ cup sugar and the cardamom with ¼ cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. Add a squeeze of lime juice to the syrup.
- 4. Place the grapefruit on a cutting board and, with a sharp knife, slice off the ends to expose the segments. Slice off the rind from top to bottom, following the curve of the grapefruit to remove as little flesh as possible. With the knife, cut between the membranes to release the segments—do this over a bowl to catch the grapefruit juices.
- 5. Place the grapefruit segments in a serving bowl. Add the plums and reserved grapefruit juice, drizzle with 2 tablespoons cardamom syrup, and gently toss to combine. Sprinkle with the mint and serve with a few mint leaves scattered on top.