Nectarines, Grapes, and Blueberries with Orange and CardamomMore than 1 million home cooks rely on Cook’s Illustrated magazine to provide trusted recipes that work, honest equipment reviews and ingredient taste tests, and time-saving kitchen tips.  Published by the hosts of America’s Test Kitchen television series, Cook’s Illustrated is known for an almost fanatical approach to creating the best recipes for the home cook’s favorite foods.  To do this, they test every recipe 20, 30, sometimes up to 100 times in their own 2,500 square foot test kitchen where they make the mistakes so you don’t have to.  They also test and recommend which kitchen equipment is the best to use, which supermarket ingredients really make a difference and which techniques work best for the home cook.  And because Cook’s Illustrated is advertising free, you can trust their objective ratings to identify what products are worth your money and which to avoid. Subscribe to Cooks Illustrated here, or sign up for the Perfectly Plated Sweepstakes for the chance to win $5,000 in merchandise from Ballard Designs.

To create a fruit salad with great fruit flavor, we had to rewrite a few rules. We found it hard to judge the proper amount of sugar when it was added directly to the salad, so we macerated each fruit in just the amount needed to release its natural juices; we balanced the sweetness with fresh lime juice. But first, we mashed the sugar with orange zest and cardamom (in bartending circles, this process is called muddling) to ensure even flavor distribution in our fruit salad.

Recipe: Nectarines, Grapes, and Blueberries with Orange and Cardamom
Author: 
Serves: 4 to 6
 
Because riper fruits require more acid to balance their sweetness, the lime juice should be added to taste. Start with 1 tablespoon, then add 1 teaspoon at a time as necessary.
Ingredients
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3 medium nectarines (about 6 ounces each), pitted and cut into ½-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 9 ounces large green grapes, halved pole to pole (about 2 cups)
  • 1 pint blueberries, picked over
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (see note)
Instructions
  1. Combine sugar, zest, and cardamom in large bowl. Using rubber spatula, press mixture into side of bowl until sugar becomes damp, about 30 seconds. Gently toss fruit with sugar mixture until combined. Let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until fruit releases its juices, 15 to 30 minutes. Stir in lime juice to taste and serve.

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