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Simplicity is the way to showcase tropical fruits.

Natural showoffs, the tropical and subtropical fruits shown on pages 138 to 143 are best served simply to make the most of their distinctive looks and taste.

Here we explore ways to cut and serve each of the 18 fruits, and suggest appetizers, salads, salad dressings, desserts, and other preparations to feature them.

Like apples, many of the fruits oxidize or darken when exposed to air; to preserve their color, you can moisten surfaces, as your taste dictate, with lemon or lime juice, or vinegar. Use a light-colored vinegar if a dark one stains the fruit. Ways to cut and serve

Babaco. Cut crosswise into thick slices to show star shape, or cut in half lengthwise and divide into serving-size portions. If desired, complement with a splash of lemon or lime juice. Scoop flesh from skin with a spoon, or eat skin and all with a knife and fork.

Red, Manzano, or Saba banana. Just peel and eat. Or pull off one long strip of peel and serve to eat with a spoon or fork from the half-shell. Add a little lime or lemon juice if you like.

Carambola. Eat entire fruit, including skin, or cut into thin crosswise slices.

Cherimoya. Cut small fruit in half lengthwise, or cut large fruit in wedges. Sprinkle with lemon or lime juice to prevent browning; scoop from skin with a spoon; spit out seeds.

Feijoa. Cut in half and moisten with lemon or lime juice (or vinegar dressing) to prevent browning. Eat flesh from the shell with a spoon. Coarse-textured shells are best if cooked.

Guava. Cut in half crosswise; eat flesh from the shell with a spoon. Coarsetextured shells are best if cooked.

Kiwi fruit. Cut in half crosswise and eat from skin with a spoon; or peel and slice.

Litchi or longan. Serve in clusters; break individual fruit from stem, pull off skin (or shell) and eat; discard seeds.

Mango. Cut to eat in one of two ways: Slice unpeeled fruit off flattened sides, parallel to each side of the long fibrous pit. Then cut diamond pattern through fruit just to skin and push on skin to separate cuts in flesh; eat from skin with knife and fork.

Or, cut four lengthwise slits through skin just to fruit. Peel skin down and eat fruit like a banana (this is messy, however).

Mexican papaya. Cut fruit into servingsize pieces; scoop out seeds, sprinkle with lime or lemon juice, and eat from the skin with a spoon.

Solo papaya. Cut in half lengthwise; scoop out seeds, sprinkle with lime or lemon juice to enhance flavor, then eat from the skin with a spoon.

Passion fruit. Cut in half and eat pulp rom the shell with a spoon. Or rub fruit through a strainer to get rid of seeds.

Pepino. Cut in half lengthwise; scoop out seeds and, to enhance flavor, sprinkle with lemon or lime juice. Eat from the skin with a spoon.

Sapote. Eat like an apple, discarding seeds. Or peel fruit, cut into pieces, pick out the seeds, and drizzle with lemon or lime juice to prevent darkening.

Tamarillo. Cut in half and eat from skin with a spoon. Or cut a large X on the side of fruit, through to the seeds; squeeze sides of tamarillo to open up the X, and eat from skin with a spoon. To remove tart skin, dip fruit in boiling water for about 20 seconds; pull off the skin. Fruit Canapes

These appetizers are shown on page 142. 1 long baguette (about 1/2 lb.) 4 to 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, at room temperature Fruit toppings (suggestions follow)

Cut bread crosswise into 1/2-inch slices; lay bread slices side by side on rimmed 10-by 15-inch baking sheets. Broil 6 inches from heat until lightly browned. Turn slices over and generously spread with butter. Broil buttered sides until edges brown.

Top toast with your choice of the following toppings; serve. Makes about 44 pieces; allow 4 or 5 for each serving.

Fruit toppings: choose from the following to make each canape.

Papaya and blue cheese. Spread about 1 teaspoon blue cheese on toast; top with a 1/2-inch-thick slice of papaya.

Feijoa and smoked salmon. Drape a 2-1/2-inch-long thin slice of smoked salmon on toast; top with a slice of peeled feijoa.

Pepino and prosciutto or smoked turkey. Wrap a 1/2-inch wedge of pepino with a thin slice of prosciutto or smoked turkey and set on a piece of toast.

Tamarillo and swiss cheese. Lay a thin 1-1/2-inch square of swiss cheese on toast; top with a thin slice of peeled tamarillo. Sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar. Broil 3 inches from heat until cheese melts, about 1-1/2 minutes.

Passion fruit and cream cheese. Spread toast with about 1 tablespoon cream cheese. Make an indentation in center of cheese to form a nest. Spoon 1 teaspoon passion fruit pulp in nest.

Carambola and salami. Fold a thin slice of dry salami in half; lay on toast. Top salami with a thin slice of carambola.

Kiwi and cheddar cheese. Arrange several paper-thin slices (each about 2-in. square) cheddar cheese on toast; top with a thin slice of peeled kiwi. Spinach and Fruit Salad

Use slices of unpeeled carambola or babaco, or peeled and sliced feijoa, guava, kiwi, mango, papaya, or pepino. 1 pound spinach, stems and yellow leaves discarded 1 small red onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings 2 cups sliced fruit (suggestions precede) Passion fruit dressing (recipe follows)

Thoroughly wash spinach; pat dry on paper towels. Arrange 1/4 of the leaves in concentric circles on each of 4 salad plates. Decoratively arrange equal portions of onion rings and fruit on spinach leaves. (If made ahead, chill up to 1 hour.) Offer passion fruit dressing to spoon over individual portions. Serves 4.

Passion fruit dressing. Whirl 1/4 cup passion fruit pulp (2 to 3 fruit) in a blender or food processor until seeds resemble ground pepper. Add 6 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 teaspoon each grated lemon peel and dry mustard. Whirl to blend. With motor running, pour in 3/4 cup salad oil. Season with salt to taste. Use, or cover and chill as long as 3 days. Serve with spinach salad (preceding) or drizzle over cut-to-serve fruits (preceding). Makes about 1-1/4 cups. Sauteed Fruit

Offer lightly cooked fruit with roasted poultry, pork, ham, or lamb. 3 tablespoons butter or margarine 1 small onion, coarsely chopped 1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger About 1-1/2 cups prepared fruit (directions follow) 1 to 2 tablespoons lime juice 2 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar

Melt butter in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium heat; add the onion and ginger and cook, stirring, until onion is barely limp, about 1 minute. Add your choice of prepared fruit and turn gently to coat with butter. Cover and cook until fruit is heated through and very tender when pierced, 2 to 5 minutes; turn occasionally. Season fruit with lime juice and brown sugar to taste; mix gently to blend well. Serve hot. Makes about 3 cups.

Prepared fruit. Choose one of the following to make each version of sauteed fruit.

Babaco. Cut unpeeled babacos crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.

Carambola. Cut unpeeled carambolas crosswise into 1/2 inch slices.

Feijoa. Thinly cut peel from feijoas. Cut fruit in halves lengthwise and coat with lemon juice.

Guava. Thinly cut peel from guavas. Cut fruit in quarters lengthwise.

Kiwi fruit. Thinly cut peel from kiwi fruit. Cut fruit into 1/2-inch slices.

Mango. Slice unpeeled mango in halves, cutting parallel to the seed. Pull or cut off skin and cut fruit into 1-inch slices.

Papaya. Thinly cut peel off Solo papaya or a section of Mexican papaya. Cut Solo papaya in half; scoop seeds from both kinds of papaya. Cut fruit into 1-inch slices or chunks.

Pepino. Thinly cut peel from pepino; cut in half and scoop out seeds. Cut fruit in quarters or large chunks.

Tamarillo. Dip tamarillos in boiling hot water for about 20 seconds; slip off skins. Trim off stem and cut fruit in halves lengthwise, or crosswise in thick slices. Tropical Sorbet

You can use any of the following 13 different fruits to prepare this sorbet. To make the purees, whirl chunks of the peeled and seeded fruit with citrus juice in a blender or food processor. 1/2 cup each sugar and water 1 cup fruit puree (directions follow)

Combine the sugar and water in a 1- to 2-quart pan. Bring to a boil over high heat; boil until mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes; let cool. If made ahead, you can cover and chill indefinitely.

Mix syrup and fruit puree. If desired, pour through a wire strainer to remove any seeds; discard residue. Pour mixture into a metal pan "such as a 9-in. square or 5- by 9-in. loaf).

Cover and freeze just until almost firm. Break fruit mixture into small pieces and, in a bowl, beat with an electric mixer until slushy. Wrap airtight and freeze until firm, about 2 hours or as long as 1 month.

(Or freeze the puree mixture in a self-refrigerated ice cream machine, following the manufacturer's directions. Serve when just frozen, or store as directed for sorbet made in the freezer.)

Let sorbet stand at room temperature to soften slightly, then scoop out to serve. Makes about 1-1/2 cups, 3 or 4 servings.

Fruit puree. Whirl fruit in a blender or food processor; rub through a food mill; or if soft, press through a wire strainer.

Babaco. Whirl 1-1/4 cups peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped babaco (about 1 fruit) with 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice until smoothly pureed.

Banana. Whirl 1-1/4 cups peeled and cubed bananas (about 3, depending on variety) with 1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice until smoothly pureed.

Cherimoya. Whirl 1-1/4 cups peeled, seeded, chopped cherimoya (about 1 medium-size fruit) with 2 tablespoons orange juice until smoothly pureed.

Feijoa. Whirl 1 cup pulp scooped from center of 9 or 10 feijoas with 1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice until smoothly pureed.

Guava. Whirl 1 cup pulp scooped from center of 8 to 10 guavas with 1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice until smoothly pureed.

Kiwi fruit. Whirl 1-1/4 cups peeled and sliced kiwi fruit (4 or 5 fruit) until smoothly pureed.

Mango. Whirl 1 cup seeded, peeled, and cubed mango (about 1 medium-size) with 2-1/2 tablespoons orange juice until smoothly pureed.

Papaya. Whirl 1 cup peeled, seeded, and cubed papaya (about a 1-lb. Solo fruit or piece of Mexican papaya) with 2-1/2 tablespoons lime juice until smoothly pureed.

Passion fruit. Whirl 1 cup pulp scooped from center of 8 to 12 passion fruit until seeds are like coarse pepper.

Pepino. Whirl 1 cup peeled and seeded pepinos (3 or 4 fruit) with 1 tablespoon lemon juice until smoothly pureed.

Sapote. Whirl 1 cup seeded chunks from 1 large peeled sapote with 2 tablespoons lemon juice until smoothly pureed.

Tamarillo. Whirl 1 cup sliced tamarillos (4 or 5 fruit) with 1 tablespoon lemon juice until smoothly pureed.
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Date:Apr 1, 1985
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