Monday, October 17, 2011
My friend Sienna has a thing about ginger. When we stop by our local bar to get a carrot apple juice, she asks for hers with so much ginger it burns your tongue. So when we were at the movies the other night, I shouldn’t have been surprised when she slipped me a candy, and it was a ginger bomb.
Since it was dark, and the movie (Carnage. Great. Go see it.) had already started, I had to keep my WOW to myself. Since my ginger love is almost as strong as Sienna’s I of course asked her for another half way through the movie. Once the lights came back on I was able to see what I was eating: Curiously Strong Altoids. But not the horrid mints that I can’t stand, but their newest flavor, ginger.
Which is all to say I had ginger on my mind the next day as I was making fruit salad. Sienna had invited me to lunch on her terrace and I’d offered to bring fruit. I’d planned on buying and bringing a gorgeous bunch of grapes, but forgot. I did however have a couple of apples, bananas and kiwis - as well as a handful of grapes. In other words, fruit salad.
But our friend Beatrice was also coming, and since she is an extreme judge of food quality (she owns Gustiamo, which imports some of the most amazing food from Italy to the States) I knew I had to up my game a bit. Also, Sienna - besides being a fantastic cook - runs a culinary tour company. It was one of those lunches that seemed simple, but the capers had just flown in from Stomboli with Beatrice and Sienna’s cheeses had arrived a few days before from Lyon. Plain fruit salad just wasn’t gonna cut it.
I couldn’t stop thinking about those Curiously Strong candies, and so thought I’d add ginger to the fruit salad - in large enough quantities to raise it above boring fruit salad into the realm of curiously delicious.
While I am usually pretty lazy when it comes to fruit salad, just dumping sugar and a bit of lemon juice directly into the cut up fruit, this time I actually made a ‘dressing.’ A huge knob of fresh ginger, grated, as well as lemon zest. Lemon juice as always. But instead of sugar, I opened a jar of honey I’d just gotten from a new company in Greece, Navarino. The gorgeous packaging lived up to the taste, which was redolent of wild thyme, giving the entire dish a slight resin flavor that was just right.
Adding ginger to fruit salad is one of those aha moments. I can’t believe I never did it before, and won’t ever make that mistake again. So now that I’ve got fruit salad taken care of, my only remaining ginger-related problem is where am I going to get more of those Ginger Altoids? If you’re coming over from the States, will you bring me a box or 12? I only had two, but I’m officially addicted.
Curiously Strong Ginger Fruit Salad
1 cup grapes
Big knob of ginger, about an inch and half piece
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
2 1/2 Tablespoons of Thyme Honey
Peel and cut up the fruit, and place in bowl.
Grate the lemon peel and place in small bowl, with grated ginger. Add honey and mix to paste. Add lemon juice and mix well.
Add dressing to fruit salad and stir. Let sit in fridge about an hour before serving.