Thursday, April 5, 2012

Fruit Salad with Lime Vanilla Bean Dressing

A long long time ago, after I graduated from University of Chicago and we were getting ready to move to North Carolina, my friends that I worked for wanted to do something nice for Dave and I. They wanted to give us a Chicago experience we wouldn't have done for ourselves that would leave us with a lasting memory of our time living in the city.  The gift:  a dinner for two at Charlie Trotter's restaurant- the only 4-star restaurant in Chicago at the time.  It took two months just to get a reservation!!!

I was quite intimidated going into the restaurant.  I think that both Dave and I agree it was the BEST meal/experience we've ever had at a restaurant.  We liked it so much, he actually bought me the Charlie Trotter Cooks at Home cookbook.  That was over ten years ago and to this day, I have been too scared to make any of the recipes from it.  I usually thumb through it, make a mental note, close it, and never re open it.  This week, I went through the whole book, wrote down all the recipes I wanted to try, and even wrote the page numbers next to them.

I had to start off small, so I made an adapted version of his fruit salad- and oh my goodness, I LOVED it so much and I can't wait to try all the other recipes I have written down. This recipe was soo simple, but turned cut up fruit into something so much more by adding a lime/vanilla bean dressing (NOTE:  I do not normally eat pears and mangoes, but this brings them to a whole new level.) .  I altered his recipe because it called for olive oil in the dressing, along with onions and cantaloupe in the salad.  I'm sure I'm never going to like cantaloupe no matter what, so I used blueberries instead, but I'm thinking watermelon next time.  My kids, my sister, and anyone who tried it loved it.  With summer approaching and yummy fruit coming into season, I'm sure this simple recipe will come in handy to anyone who wants to give it a try.

Fruit Salad with Lime Vanilla Bean Dressing:

2 Mangoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 pears, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 pint blueberries
3 TBSP fresh squeezed lime juice from 1 lime (key lime is preferrable, but I just used a normal lime)
1 vanilla bean, scraped

1) Juice the lime, be sure to have at least 3 TBSP juice.  Put the juice into a small bowl.  Scrape the seeds from a vanilla bean into the lime juice.  While I cut my fruit, I left the bean pod soaking in the lime juice to extract more seeds and flavor.

2) Peel and cut fruit.  Place in serving bowl.

3) Pour lime vanilla bean juice into the bowl with the fruit, toss to coat.  Serve and enjoy!

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