By Lori Rodgers –
Southwest Florida is a food lover’s paradise. In the springtime, it seems to me our tropical surroundings are even more vibrant. The sky is bluer, the palm fronds greener…and I begin to daydream about escaping to a desert island. Once I arrive I’ll be hungry and what better treat than a cool, refreshing tropical fruit salad! I always love trying new foods. This recipe includes cherimoya, also know as custard apple. It is grown in the highlands of the Andes mountains and was reserved for royalty during the reign of the Incas. Purely coincidental, this is an ideal companion to my quinoa salad recipe, also an Incan favorite!
3 cups of sliced strawberries
1 ripe mango, sliced
1 banana sliced in circles
3 tablespoons toasted coconut
Cherimoya Drizzle (recipe follows)
Start with the highest quality fruits you can find. Strawberries are reaching the peak of season so it shouldn’t be too hard to find some sweet ones! If you are lucky enough to have your own mango tree or maybe a friendly neighbor with a tree, the fruits are practically falling on the ground this time of year. And bananas are pretty much a no brainer!
Lightly toss the berries, mango, and banana slices. Divide the fruit mixture among the bowls, anywhere from 4-6 depending upon the serving size you prefer.
Choose pretty individual serving bowls or if you want to take the tropical theme a step further, serve the salad in pineapple halves.
Using a large spoon in a zig zag motion, top the fruit salad with the Cherimoya Drizzle. Finally sprinkle with toasted coconut, close your eyes and savor the tropical goodness.
1 ripe cherimoya
Juice of half a lemon
½ cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon agave nectar
Choose a cherimoya that yields to the touch similar to a ripe avocado. Slice in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Do not eat the seeds! Place the cherimoya pulp, lemon juice, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, and agave in a blender or food processor and purée. If the consistency is too thick, add a bit more lemon or orange juice. Refrigerate and use within two days for optimum flavor.