Vitamin-rich, fresh and colorful, the fruit salad is a must at the end of the meal. You still have to prepare it well. Instructions with Catherine Botti, Best Ouvrier de France primeur.
Not protecting the fruits from oxidation, dressing them too much or even neglecting the cut… Although, in the collective imagination, its preparation resembles child’s play, in reality there are many bad habits to avoid to make “a precious fruit”. salad, fresh, seasonal and well presented.” Hints and tips from Catherine Botti, Meilleur Ouvrier de France primeur 2015, head of fruit and vegetable shop Botti Fruits in Chambéry (1).
Pesticides: which fruits and vegetables are least contaminated?
Choose any fruit
A small reminder is necessary: to make a good fruit macedonia, it is essential to respect the seasonality of the products used. “In general, I make my salads according to colors or by category of fruit. For example, in spring and summer, I often make red fruit salads, or very simple combinations such as peach, nectarine and apricot, or yellow, green and traditional Charentais melons”.
Do not protect the fruits from oxidation
Each fruit is unique. Some, more sensitive than others to their environment, require more attention. It is the case of the apple and the pear. “They are not juicy fruits, so they oxidize quickly, they need to be protected immediately.” To do this, there are many possibilities, and they all have their taste qualities. “You can simply use orange juice, lemon juice or lime zest.” Other tricks even allow you to prepare the salad the day before: “a syrup allows you to preserve the fruit well, as long as it is not too ripe, but just right. It is a simple mixture of sugar and water, to which spices can be added. Then pour it all over the salad and it will be just as good the next day. Watch out for the sugar, though, you only need a little.” Fleur de sel also meets fruit preservation expectations, “as long as you’re not too heavy-handed.”
Organic fruits and vegetables: why are they so expensive?
I don’t add sugar, the fruits contain enough as they are. What we are looking for above all is its original taste.
Catherine Botti, Best worker of France primeur
Cut the fruit anyway
An essential step, but often neglected in the preparation: the cut, which differs from one fruit to another. “It all depends on their form and maturity. In general, I cut them into small cubes of five to six millimeters, which allows the flavors of each fruit to be in the mouth.” On the other hand, contrary to the general idea, a fruit salad is not necessarily served in a cup or in a large salad, but can also be presented on a plate, like a carpaccio. “It’s another way of doing it, but once again, the cut is made according to the fruit and its maturity to highlight all its taste qualities.”
You have a strong hand on seasoning
This is the mistake that most offends Catherine Botti: putting too much sugar in fruit salad. “Personally I don’t use it at all, the fruits are sweet enough as they are. What we are looking for above all is its original taste.” For primeur MOF, spices and herbs dethrone sugar in terms of taste and are therefore preferable. “They have to go well with the fruit without dominating its smells and flavors. I personally like star anise or star anise, it is very fragrant and exotic. Depending on the salad and the fruit used, I also add fresh ginger or a vanilla pod”. When it comes to herbs, anything is possible, as long as you add them at the last minute. “Basil, tarragon, parsley… I also use it Tagetes lucida, or Mexican tarragon, which has citrus scents”. And for an even more subtle taste, “you can make a decoction or an infusion of the chosen herbs or spices that you then add to the salad.”
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A fruit, widely used in salads, should be banned. It’s the banana. “It is enough for the salad to be prepared an hour before, the banana will soften and turn black”. We do without it not because of its taste explains the first, but because of its very accelerated oxidation. “It’s just because it’s not pretty, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. It’s very possible to cut it and add it right before service.”
(1) Catherine Botti, Botti Fruits, Place de Genève, 73000 Chambéry. Like this. : 09 66 93 92 22.