Longan, cherries, and cantaloupe with kumquat citrus syrup.
It’s summertime, and some of the best fruits are in season. So why not throw them together in a tasty salad?
This salad is made with one of my favorite tropical fruits, longans. The fruit is from a tree in the soapberry family of which lychee and rambutan are also apart. They have a thin outer green shell that turns brown when ripe, an opaque flesh, and a small seed in the center. Their flavor is similar to lychee but sweeter with more floral notes. Lychee, being readily available and even found canned, can be substituted for the longan.
To prepare the longan, remove the fruit from any stem. Where the stem was attached, press in with your thumb. This should break the shell, allowing it to be peeled away. There will be a small indention on the top of the fruit. Use your thumb and peel the flesh away from the seed. If there are any hard spots left behind, trim them off with a pairing knife. The fruit is then ready to use or eat.
Longan Fruit Salad
- 1/2 cup kumquats sliced thin and deseeded
- 1/8 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup orange juice divided
- 20-25 each cherries halved and deseeded
- 3 cups cantaloupe balled or chopped
- 2 cup longan fruit shelled, deseeded, and halved
- mint optional as needed for garnish
- Place the kumquats, sugar, and half the orange juice in a small pan. Heat over medium-low to medium heat and dissolve the sugar. Try to keep the kumquats in a flat layer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the fruit is opaque and the syrup has thickened. Remove from the heat and add the remaining orange juice. Cool and set aside until ready to use.
- Prepare the fruit keeping the cherries separate from the other fruits. Add 1/3 of the cooled syrup to the cherries. Add the other 2/3s along with the kumquats to the cantaloupe and longan. Mix the syrup into the fruits and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes. Mix the cherries with the other fruits right before serving. Spoon into dishes, garnish with mint, and serve.