This recipe is all about the striking presentation and if you hurry, you can find all the fruits above at your local supermarket except maybe be figs, but they are around!
Now don't think for a moment that I have ever served this recipe in this beautiful fruit basket. A beautiful green bowl has usually done it for me, but after discovering this simple tutorial, I think I will give it a shot next time I have a group for brunch.
Choose whatever fruit is in season—summer watermelon and strawberries, fall apples, pears and grapes—and be creative!
For the Poppy Seed Dressing
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard, such as Colman's
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon grated onion, plus the juice released by grating
1 cup safflower or canola oil
1-1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
For the Fruit Salad
1 honeydew melon, peeled, seeded, and diced
3 fresh purple figs, quartered
6 black cherries
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds, for garnish
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.
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.
Neiman Marcus Taste: Timeless American Recipes
by Kevin Garvin with John Harrisson
Read more: Recipe: Neiman Marcus Fruit Salad in a Melon Basket with Poppy Seed Dressing http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/cookbook/2007/nieman-marcus-taste/fruit-salad-melon-basket.html#ixzz0z5mJEQeH