Posted in Good Food, Recipe

Fresh Autumn Salad with Melba Toast

Autumn is setting in South Africa and in Pretoria the nights are cold, but the days are still lovely and perfect to enjoy a delectable lunch out in the garden. In the fruit and vegetable markets there are a marked decline in the summer fruits and veggies that are available and they are replaced by bags of lovely oranges, grapefruits and naartjies. I love that heavy zesty smell of the fruit market when these fruits make their appearance after a long absence from the summer shelves. To still the craving in my body for those first fruits of the winter season, I like to – at least once before the heavy winter sets in – make my fresh autumn salad. It is easy, quick and you can make it well in advance. I usually invite a bunch of friends and I serve it as a starter with one of my favourite Rosé wines, the Groot Constantia Blanc de Noir. This attractive Rosé with its grapefruit pink hues,  is made from 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. The refreshing floral hints compliments the individual components on the plate very well.

You’ll need:

  • 2-3 Grapefruits
  • 2-3 Oranges
  • 2-3 Naartjies
  • Bunch of Chives
  • 6 Lemon Verbena Leaves
  • Zest of one Orange
  • 1ml Crushed Garlic
  • 1ml Black Pepper
  • 250ml Cream Cheese
  • 250ml Goat’s Cheese (Chevré)
  • 12 Slices White Bread Toasted
  • Balsamic Cream

For the Dressing:

  • 75ml Olive Oil
  • 15ml Sesame Oil
  • 30ml Runny Honey
  • All the juices of the fruits

To make:

  1. Prepare the Fruit: Peel and segment all the fruits and over a bowl, ensuring that you catch all the juices from the fruits. Set the segmented fruit in a separate bowl from the juice aside.
  2. Make the Cheese Quenelles: Mix the cream cheese, goat’s cheese, garlic, black pepper, orange zest and the chopped lemon verbena leaves in a bowl. Once mixed, use two spoons to make six large quenelles, cover and put in refrigerator until needed. If you don’t have lemon verbena, you can leave it out of the mix.
  3. Making the Melba Toast: Toast your slices of white bread until they are golden brown. Use a large round cookie cutter and cut 12 rounds from your slices of bread. Half an hour before you plate, put the rounds on an oven tray and place in the oven at 100°C. This will dry the bread a bit more and give it a healthy crunchy texture with all the other smooth components on your plate. 
  4. Make the Dressing: In the bowl with the juice of the fruits, put in all the components for the dressing and mix well. Pour the dressing over the fruit, mix well and allow to marinate for at least an hour before serving.
  5. Dressing the plate: Start by placing your cheese quenelle toward one edge of the plate. Use a squeeze bottle and squeeze three balsamic cream drops that spiral from the centre of the plate toward the edge. On the left of the quenelle, heap some of the fruit on the plate in that open spot and on the other side, stack two Melba toast rounds. Sprinkle with some chopped chives and more of the dressing and enjoy with your friends and good wine!
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Author:

Welcome to my two Blogs, each representing the two great passions in my life: Food & Yoga. I started life out as a graphic designer and when I hit my 40's decide to study the culinary arts at Steyn's Culinary School in Pretoria. So as a chef I am a later bloomer. I sell gourmet street food, Paninis, Gourmet Bunny Chow, Bombay Frankies, Bobotie Meat Kebabs and Chai on markets in and around Pretoria. I also offer my services as a private chef or as a caterer. I am a part time yoga teacher with 17 years of doing yoga and 8 years of teaching yoga behind me. I teach Intergal Hatha Yoga and has small classes in Queenswood, Pretoria.

4 thoughts on “Fresh Autumn Salad with Melba Toast

  1. This is a beautiful dish! It makes me think of all the lovely warm colors autumn brings this time of year! I am definitely saving this recipe for the next time we entertain this season.

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    1. I am sure it will be a hit at the table and as it is easy to prepare well in advance, you need to do very little except for plating it up just before serving. Enjoy!

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  2. Your cheese quenelles sound like they would be lovely with the fruit salad. Even though it is spring where I live, we still have lovely citrus. I am looking forward to trying this dish.

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    1. They are lovely, I also make a low fat one by replacing the cream cheese with a low fat or fat free cottage cheese. It’s also a perfect starter for vegetarian friends, if you have a few, mine love it!

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