The Queen of Beans: Tropical Fruit Salad wih Vanilla Mint Syrup

| April/May 2005

Serves 8 to 10

This syrup works with any combination of fruit; I especially like it with the tropicals. It is a light and refreshing dessert; the use of the vanilla bean makes these fruits seem exotic.

• 1 cup water
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1/2 vanilla bean
• 1 handful of fresh mint leaves, bruised
• Few strips of lime zest
• 1 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
• 1 firm ripe mango or papaya, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-sized pieces
• 1 small, ripe cantaloupe, seeded, and cut into bite-sized pieces
• 1 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into bite-sized pieces

1. Make flavored fruit syrup by combining water, sugar, vanilla, mint and zest in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. When cooled to room temperature, strain syrup and stir in lime juice. At this point syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

2. Toss mango, papaya and pineapple in a large bowl. Pour syrup over fruit. Toss mixture well. Cover and chill for at least 1/2 hour before serving.

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