the appetizer:

Neiman Marcus Taste by Kevin Garvin with John Harrisson features classic recipes from the department store's flagship restaurant, like Neiman Marcus Fruit Salad in a Melon Basket with Poppy Seed Dressing; Savory Parmesan Popovers; and Wok-Seared Marinated Quail with Spicy Asian Noodles.

Cookbook Profile

Neiman Marcus Fruit Salad
in a Melon Basket with Poppy Seed Dressing

Neiman Marcus Fruit Salad in a Melon Basket with Poppy Seed Dressing


Serves: 6
Simplicity: + + + +

This recipe is all about the striking presentation. Since the early days of my hotel kitchen career, I have enjoyed cutting fruit to resemble flowers to garnish salads with a special flourish. This recipe will show you how to give simple fruit salad a five-star appearance. Choose whatever fruit is in season—summer watermelon and strawberries, fall apples and grapes—and be creative!

For the Poppy Seed Dressing

For the Fruit Salad

To prepare the dressing, place the sugar, mustard, salt, and vinegar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the grated onion and onion juice and mix on low speed. Turn the mixer to high and gradually add the oil in a steady stream until well incorporated. Continue to mix on high speed for 10 minutes longer, until the dressing is very thick. Stir in the poppy seeds, transfer the dressing to an airtight container, and reserve in the refrigerator.

Neiman Marcus Fruit Salad in a Melon Basket with Poppy Seed Dressing

To prepare the fruit salad, first make the melon baskets. Take 3 of the cantaloupe melons and use a sharp paring knife to make large V-shaped incisions into the circumference of the melons until the melons separate into 2 halves (see the photo). Cut off no more than about 1-1/2 inches from the bottom of the melon halves so that they will stand flat. Still working on the rind side, use the knife to carefully make another incision in a V-shape about 1/4 inch below the original V-shaped cuts, cutting just 1/2 inch into the flesh. Then, starting at the top point of each wedge, cut downward into the wedge between the flesh and the rind. Gently pull the top edge of each point away from the flesh, forming a flower petal shape (see the photo).

Stand the remaining cantaloupe and the honeydew melon on a cutting board and peel away the rinds using a long paring knife. Cut the melons in half, remove the seeds, and then cut the flesh into small dice. Transfer to a bowl. Add the figs, cherries, and blackberries and mix gently. Spoon equal amounts of the fruit mixture into each melon basket and garnish with the pomegranate seeds. Serve the poppy seed dressing on the side.

Chef's Note: The dressing can be used on any salad containing fruit.


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This page created November 2007