20 October 2013

Grilled Fruit Salad with Crisped Speck, Goat Cheese, and Pecans

My friends. I have recently become fascinated with this thing you call Pinterest. Apparently, it's a pin board, and as far as I can tell, people use them to pin millions of hair style ideas for their wedding. And also to plan their wedding, when they are not, in fact, expecting to get married anytime soon. So it's confusing. Forgive me if I'm a little slow, but I do live in North Africa, and the internets are not so great here.


But what I have really become obsessed with is why and how people use Pinterest to pin recipes. Or really not-recipes, as I like to call them. Based on a recent analysis of the most popular food posts on Pinterest, I have broken them down into the following categories for you:
  • I'm on this stupid diet and I'll do anything to get around it (see: Paleo cinnamon rolls, Vegan bacon, Paleo burritos)
  • At least 90% of the recipes are made in a crockpot using store-bought mixes. Hint: combining some chicken and two sauce packs is not cooking. Also, if you were wondering why America has an obesity problem, here's a hint.
  • How to make food not look like food! (Bacon turtles)
  • Food coloring 101
  • Pretty pictures of food that do not, in fact, actually link to a recipe.
I don't want to go on a rant here, but I am actually quite fascinated with this anthropologically. What does it mean that people are sitting around pinning recipes that they will never make, because they in fact aren't recipes at all? Why do we want our food to not look like food? What's so wrong with an apple actually looking like an apple? And, I know they're convenient, but why exactly are we so obsessed with crockpots? A pot and a stove have always been perfectly functional for me.

On another level, I will admit that I find myself so removed from this phenomenon because, well, I live in Algeria. I live somewhere where there is NO store-bought mix option. There's no boneless skinless chicken breast option, unless you're doing the butchering yourself, there's no bottled barbeque sauce. When my greengrocer tells me the strawberries are good this week, I ask whether they're local or imported, because I know the imported ones are five-times the price. I live somewhere where when I go to the market in the morning and the watermelon guy is offloading watermelons from his truck, it's not all "ohh I met the farmer" and it's so good to know where he comes from and  "farm to table." It's just a guy and his watermelons because that's the way it is. Where my carrots shrivel up and get all soft two days after I buy them, because that's what carrots SHOULD do.


So yes, I got all ranty. Fine. But here's the thing, I have a Pinterest account. And the other day, I saw a recipe for a cake with smoked fruit. That smoked fruit thing really stuck in my head, and it rattled around in there for a while. And I thought of a salad with smoked fruit. And that salad with smoked fruit, well I sort of become obsessed with it. And I made it, and it was delicious. (If you're lazy, just grilling the fruit, or sauteeing in a grill pan also works). So, I guess this whole Pinterest sharing idea thing works out after all. Just don't expect me to be posting the recipe for jello cookies anytime soon.

**We're currently eating our way through Sicily, if you're interested in following along with our fooding adventures (spleen sandwiches! wineries! gelato!), click on the Instagram link at the top right of the page.**

Grilled Fruit Salad with Crisped Speck, Goat Cheese, and Pecans
Honestly, I don't think anyone really needs quantities for a salad recipe. I mean, I'm assuming you can make a salad right? Make enough for however many people you want to serve. I promise, it will be okay.

stone fruits, firm-ripe, pitted and halved (I used prune plums, apricots, and peaches)
speck, cut into batons (bacon can also work)
goat cheese, crumbled
torn lettuce, we used a kind of butter lettuce, but whatever you'd like
vinaigrette: olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt
black pepper

1. Mix together your vinaigrette - you want two parts oil to one part vinegar, then season with salt.
2. In a small pan, crisp the speck over medium heat until crispy and some of the fat in rendered out, Drain on a paper towel. Using the same pan, toast the pecans in the rendered fat. Drain pecans on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt.
3. Preheat a grill, a smoker box, or a grill pan, rub lightly with oil. Grill the fruit, cut side down first, until nice solid grill marks appear, about 3-5 minutes. Flip the fruit and grill another 2-5 minutes on the other side, until browned but not falling apart. Set aside.
4. Assemble the salad. Toss the lettuce with the dressing in a large bowl. Arrange the pecans, speck, fruit and goat cheese over top. Crack some black pepper over the whole thing. Serve with a knife and fork.


Aaron said...

5This looks really tasty. I don't have access to a smoker or a grill (living with a host family in Jordan), but I'll bookmark it and hopefully make it when I get back home! PS, the Pinterest rant was great :)

lynn2mary said...

Jello cookies?

Mercedes said...

Thanks Aaron! Hope you are enjoying Jordan (my husband dreams of Mawaal's schwarma)!

Apparently you can use jello packets to make anything!

A said...

I just found your blog, a couple steps removed from ..... Pinterest. ha ha ha. I've been super annoyed by the pictures that don't lead to recipes lately, too!