I fell in love with fruit leathers in the Georgian market. They are omnipresent with vendors selling them in large circles. They are made by purèeing the fruit and allowing the pulp to dry out in the sun till solid and sticky. They come in a wide variety of flavours with sour plum being the most sought after, but also sour cherry, apricot, kiwi and others. Of course, I had to get a great many sheets back to play with at home.
This recipe uses Imeretian cheese, a lovely cow's milk cheese that is salty and packed with subtle nuances. It is most commonly used in kachapuri where it melts into delicious strands of goodness. Here we are using it in its native form for texture and salt. You can always substitute feta for this cheese, as I have done.
Although I have used the wonderful Georgian fruit leathers, you can substiture any tart fruit leather of your choice. Make sure you are buying the good quality ones, ones that are not loaded with sugars and other fillers. But varieties that are tart and well flavored.
This salad was designed to play with fresh and concentrated flavours. The sweet fruits add a lovely variety of flavours and colours to the salad that is complimented by the tart and bold flavours of the fruit leather bits. The mint adds some needed herbs, the feta adds creamy salt, and the topping of dried adjika adds the pop of spice that completes the dish. Sweet, tart, herb and a hint of spice make this salad wonderful.
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6 cups diced sweet fruit, apples, pears, melon of choice, berries of choice, kiwi, dragonfruit, bananas, or other
1/2 cup dried fruit leather, sour plum, apricot or other, cut into small dice
1 cup Imeretian cheese or feta, diced into small cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon adjika powder, or to taste
Mint, minced, for garnish
NOTE: do not use sour fruit like pineapple, oranges, strawberries, etc. The tartness of the salad comes from the fruit leather bits.
Mix all the ingredients and toss well. Serve in a bowl with the lettuce in the base if using. Top with a few mints leaves as garnish.
Note 2: Do not assemble the fruit leather into the salad till you are ready to serve. The fruit leather will turn soft and lose its chewy texture.