Chicken, strawberry and avocado salad
Fruits are not just for desserts.
In the pursuit of new and interesting tastes we love pairing fresh fruit with savoury dishes too. The slight tang in many soft fruits works especially well with rich meats – think of apple sauce with pork, or cranberry sauce with turkey.
But incorporating fresh fruit into the dish itself is a logical extension of this, creating an effect which is subtler and even more delicious!
Read on for a few of the fruity, savoury partnerships that we really enjoy putting together...
Blackberries are delicious in a crumble, but we also love serving them with duck.
You can stew them separately and serve as a relish with a whole roasted bird, chuck a few into the sauce to serve with the roast or even use them fresh and whole to garnish a pan-fried duck breast.
When currants are in season it is all about adding them to rich meaty sauces alongside venison or beef.
This works brilliantly with a grilled or pan-fried steak, which you can then cover with the fruity jus. For an additional kick of flavour in the sauce, add a pinch of hot chilli and a couple of squares of dark chocolate.
Lingonberries, a close relative of the blueberry and cranberry, are traditionally stewed (or turned into jam) in Scandinavia, and served with pork or game. It is also very traditional in parts of Central and Eastern Europe to serve beef with a rich creamy sauce and a dollop of lingonberry preserve.
During our Golden Egg competition in 2012 one contestant took their cue from this and served pork medallions with a creamy sauce and stewed raspberries. Judging that dish was a serious pleasure.
Cherries (especially the tangy ones we get in the UK) work well with... wait for it... mackerel!
The sourness of the fruit cuts through the rich oily fish and the flavours complement each other beautifully.
Apples are a bit of a wonder fruit. We've all heard that 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away', but they actually contains flavonoids and quercetin which help decrease inflammation, along with all the useful vitamins we know about.
Apples also have an amazing natural flavour, and make an excellent base for fresh juice with other fruits and vegetables (try with a bit of fennel if you get the chance).
They also offer a great way to enliven the flavour and texture of a simple salad – sliced apple and grated carrot with a drizzle of olive oil works very well.
Pears are a great accompaniment to many meats – try poaching in sugar syrup until tender and serve with roast duck. Utterly delicious.
However, a personal favourite for me is poaching them in fruity red wine and serving with blue cheese such as Roquefort or Dolcelatte.
Finally, for a light, unusual and utterly delicious salad we suggest you combine fresh strawberries, ripe avocado and strips of chicken.
We also add a dressing made with a dash of rapeseed oil, honey and lemon juice. This takes almost no time to prepare, but is simply stunning on a warm summer's day.
Do you have any quick and quirky ways to use fresh fruit? Let us know below!