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Food

Sweet and heat: The savory side of fruit salads

Arthur Potts Dawson's cucumber, watermelon and mango salad with spicy red and green chilies is shown served in a bowl in Concord, N. H.
Arthur Potts Dawson's cucumber, watermelon and mango salad with spicy red and green chilies is shown served in a bowl in Concord, N. H.

Great taste often comes down to contrast.

It’s why we pair tender and crunchy textures and sweet and sour flavors. In a way, these contrasts amplify the flavors of the dish, making the food much more than a simple sum of the parts.

And it’s a technique well suited to healthy eating. By playing with contrasts, you are able to coax so much more from otherwise simple ingredients.

For example, this fruit salad from Arthur Potts Dawson’s new cookbook, “Eat Your Vegetables,” pairs cooling cucumber and refreshing watermelon and mango with spicy red and green chilies. There also is contrast between the sweetness of the fruit and the savory flavors of the sauce.

The result is a delicious and healthy combination with far more flavor than your typical fruit salad.

Using both chilis makes for a dish with real kick. If you don’t like things spicy, cut them in half.

Cucumber, Watermelon And Mango Salad

Start to finish: 15 minutes

Servings: 6

2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber

2 cups diced watermelon

2 cups diced fresh mango

3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, plus whole leaves to serve

1 red chili, thinly sliced

1 green chili, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon mirin

1/3 cup olive oil

Salt and ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, watermelon, mango, chopped mint and red and green chilies. Mix gently.

In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the fish sauce, mirin and olive oil. Drizzle over the salad, then mix gently. Season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with mint leaves.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 170 calories; 110 calories from fat (65 percent of total calories); 12 g fat (1.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 2 g fiber; 320 mg sodium.

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