This Stone Fruit Salad 'Tastes Like Summertime'

Nectarines, plums, and fresh pesto unite in this beautiful dish from Nicole A. Taylor. 

Summer might as well be renamed stone fruit season — and in this episode of F&W Cooks, writer and cookbook author Nicole A. Taylor has a delicious recipe to match. She demonstrates how to make her Stone Fruit Salad with Collard-Peanut Pesto, which features a mix of nectarines and plums, a soy sauce-and-lemon-spiked collard-peanut pesto, and fonio, a West African grain. All combined together, this salad is fruity, savory, and just the thing to tuck into on a warm night.

To make it at home, read on for Taylor's method and follow along with the video above.

Cook the Fonio

First, stir together your fonio and some olive oil in a medium saucepan until the grains are evenly coated. Then, add some water, kosher salt, and one dried bay leaf. Bring the fonio to a boil over medium-high; once boiling, cover the saucepan, reduce the heat to low, and cook for one more minute. After that, remove the saucepan from the heat and let the fonio steam, covered, for five minutes. Then, remove the cover and fluff the fonio with a fork. At this point, it's done — just transfer it to a large baking sheet and spread it out in an even layer to cool completely. (This should take about 45 minutes.) Make sure you discard the bay leaf before serving.

Prep the Collards

Take your collard greens, stem them, and then roughly chop them. Quickly cook them in boiling salted water for two minutes until they turn bright green; then shock them in a bowl of ice water so they stop cooking. Allow them to cool — after two minutes, drain them, pat them completely dry, and set them aside.

Make the Collard-Peanut Pesto

Next, get your food processor and add in the greens, along with the grated Parmesan cheese, some toasted peanuts (instructions are included in the recipe), soy sauce, grated lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, honey, and a smashed garlic clove. Pulse the ingredients into a coarse paste; then, with the processor running, gradually stream in the olive oil until a well-combined pesto forms. Sprinkle in some kosher salt and black pepper, pulsing a few final times until they're incorporated. Transfer the pesto to a medium bowl and hit it with salt one more time. Then, set it aside while you prepare the remaining salad ingredients.

Dress the Stone Fruit

Your nectarines and plums should be pitted and cut into 1/2-inch wedges. Add them to a large bowl and toss them with a bit of honey and kosher salt, allowing them to sit for five minutes.

Stone Fruit Salad with Collard Peanut Pesto
Photo by Jessica Pettway / Food Styling by Micah Morton / Prop Styling by Paola Andrea


Now, all that's left is plating (and eating!) the salad. Decorate a large platter with swoops of the collard-peanut pesto. Then, top with the fonio, followed by the stone fruit mixture. Drizzle any remaining pesto on top of the salad, and finish it with the remaining toasted peanuts (roughly chopped) and a few more sprinkles of pepper.

"It feels and tastes like summertime," Taylor says after trying the salad. "This dish is a celebration."

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