Vitamin, fresh and colorful, fruit salad is a must at the end of the meal. You still need to prepare it properly. Instructions from Catherine Botti, Meilleur Ouvrier de France primeur.
Do not protect the fruit from oxidation, do not season them too much and do not even pay attention to the cutting… While in the collective imagination their preparation is like child’s play, in reality there are many bad habits to avoid in order to make ” a beautiful fruit.” salad, fresh, seasonal and beautifully presented.” Tips and advice from Catherine Botti, Meilleur Ouvrier de France primeur 2015, head of fruit and vegetable shop Botti Fruits in Chambery (1).
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Choose any fruit
A small reminder: in order to make a good fruit salad, it is necessary to observe the seasonality of the products used. “In general, I make salads by color or by category of fruit. For example, in the spring and summer I often make red fruit salads, or very simple combinations like peach, nectarine and apricot, or yellow melon, green and traditional Charente.”
Do not protect the fruit from oxidation
Each fruit is unique. Some, more sensitive to the environment, require more attention. This is a case of apples and pears. “These are not very juicy fruits, so they oxidize quickly, they need to be protected immediately.” There are many possibilities for this, and they all have their own taste. “You can just use orange juice, lemon juice or lime zest.” Other tricks even allow you to prepare the salad the day before: “the syrup allows you to preserve the fruit well, if it is not too ripe, but just enough. It is a simple mixture of sugar and water to which you can add spices. Then it’s all topped with salad and it’s just as good the next day. Watch the sugar though, you just need a little.” Fleur de sel also lives up to expectations of fruit preservation, “provided you’re not too heavy-handed.”
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I do not add sugar, there is enough in the fruit. What we are looking for above all is their original taste.
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Cut the fruit in any way
A necessary step that is often neglected in preparation: the cut, which differs from one fruit to another. “It all depends on his form and maturity. In general, I cut them into small cubes of five or six millimeters, which allows you to feel the taste of each fruit in your mouth.” On the other hand, contrary to popular belief, fruit salad does not have to be served in a cup or a large salad bowl, it can also be served on a plate, like a carpaccio. “It’s another way of doing things, but again, the slicing is done according to the fruit and its ripeness to bring out all its flavors.”
Have a heavy hand on the seasonings
This is the mistake that offends Catherine Botti the most: putting too much sugar in a fruit salad. “Personally, I don’t use it at all, the fruit is so sweet anyway. What we are looking for above all is their original taste.” For primaur MOF, spices and herbs override sugar in terms of flavor and should therefore be preferred. “They should pair well with the fruit without overpowering their flavors and aromas. Personally, I like star anise or star anise, very fragrant and exotic. Depending on the salad and the fruit, I add fresh ginger or a vanilla pod.” When it comes to herbs, anything is possible if you throw them in at the last minute. “Basil, tarragon, verbena… I also use it Tagetes lucida, or Mexican tarragon, which has citrus flavors.” And for an even more delicate taste, “you can prepare a decoction or infusion from selected herbs or spices, which can then be added to the salad.”
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put a banana
A fruit that is widely used in salads should be banned. This is a banana. “It is enough to prepare the salad an hour before, the banana will soften and turn black.” We do without it, not because its taste explains the primer, but because of its very accelerated oxidation. “It’s just because it’s ugly, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It is quite possible to cut it and add it right before the service.”
(1) Catherine Botti, Botti Fruits, Place de Genève, 73000 Chambéry. Such. : 09 66 93 92 22.