It’s official…summer’s here!
I know that the official 1st day of summer isn’t until the end of June, but Memorial Day for many, marks the beginning of summer season.
While we have summer like conditions most of the year in South Florida, I still live my life as if we have four seasons; I also begin my new year in September, just like I did when I was in school…Old habits!
When I was a teenager, we lived in the interior of British Columbia where the snow doesn’t melt until May. As soon as that snow melted, the bikinis and the baby oil came out, and my girlfriends and I were tanning in the back yard; it wasn’t hot, but it wasn’t freezing anymore either and we had a base tan to build so that we wouldn't be pasty when it got hot enough to go to the lake!
If I ever get to go back in time I will tell my younger self to at least cover my/our face, so that I/we don’t get ghastly brown spots on my/our face. Is it “my” or “our, “I” or “we”; it may be too confusing for me to go back in time; I might just have to stay put!
When the days get longer and lighter we crave lighter meals; which means lots of salads! I heart salads, especially salads with lots of “stuff” in them! Since this is also the time of year that mangoes are in abundance in the super market, I put them in this salad and called it Tropical Green Salad and I made a light and lovely tasting Honey Lime Vinaigrette that is just perfect for this salad!
I made this salad for a luncheon, so I doubled the recipe and prepped everything the night before; then just before it was time for me to leave, I assembled the salad. I served the dressing on the side, as well as the almonds, (just in case someone had a nut allergy). It’s so dang yummy!
I’ve made variations of this salad in the past, and instead of green beans, I’ve added sliced avocado. If you decide to go that route just know that the avocado needs to go on the salad right before it’s served.
Here’s what you do.
Start with making the Honey Lime Vinaigrette.
Add to the jar of a blender the chopped shallots, garlic, and fresh squeezed lime juice.
By twisting a fork in the lime while squeezing the lime a lot more juice can be gotten from the fruit.
|Also add some rice vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, toasted sesame oil, tabascco, salt and pepper.|
Turn the blender on, remove the center of the lid, and pour the canola oil through the hole in a slow steady stream.
If you don't have a blender; never fear, there are instructions at the end of the recipe for you!
Pour the vinaigrette into a container.
Honey Lime Vinaigrette can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
|Prepare the green beans by trimming the ends and blanching them in salted boiling water for about a minute and a half.|
Plunge the blanched beans immediately into a bowl of ice water that you just happen to have standing by.
Doing this will keep the beans crisp and bright green.
|I like to have all my veggies cut a similar shape and size; so I cut the red bell pepper into strips, and then cut those strips in half.|
The veggies and the cheese may be cut in the day before and stored in separate containers (or storage bags) in the refrigerator until you're ready to assemble the salad.
|Place the lettuce on the bottom of a platter or a shallow bowl.|
Arrange the veggies and the cheese in an attractive manner over the lettuce.
You may do like piles; which would make for a "composed salad", or toss everything together for a "tossed salad".
So pretty and colorful, perfect to serve just for family or at a party!
Because I served this to a crowd I doubled the recipe and, I served the dressing and the almonds on the side.
TROPICAL GREEN SALAD with HONEY LIME VINAIGRETTE
½ lb. Green beans, trimmed
1 Cucumber, peeled, and diced large
1 Red bell pepper, large dice
1 Mango, large dice
½ Small red onion, sliced
1 bag Green lettuce, such a romaine or butter lettuce, a bag is 6.5 ounces
6 oz. Havarti cheese, large dice
¼ cup Flavored Sliced Almonds, Honey roasted or salt and pepper flavor (typically found in the produce section)
Honey lime vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add a little salt and the green beans. Blanch the beans for about a minute and a half.
2. Immediately plunge the blanched green beans into a bowl of ice water. This will shock the beans so that they stay bright green, and crisp. Once they’ve completely cooled, drain the beans well.
3. Use a large shallow bowl, or a platter. Arrange the lettuce on the bottom.
4. Arrange the veggies, mangoes and cheese in an attractive manner over the lettuce. My preference is to make piles of like veggies, so that each person can take what they want.
5. Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the salad (or serve on the side). Serve the dressing on the side.
HONEY LIME VINAIGRETTE
Makes about ¾ cup
2 Tbsp. Shallot, minced
1 clove Garlic, chopped (a small clove)
1 Lime, juice of
2 Tbsp. Rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. Honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ tsp. Toasted sesame oil
2 dashes Tabascco sauce
1/3 cup Canola oil, add up to ½ cup (depending how acidic you like your dressing)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Add all of the ingredients except for the canola oil and the salt and pepper in to the jar of a blender.
2. Put the lid on the blender, but remove the center of the lid. Turn the blender on (hold a towel over the top in case it splatters), and pour the canola oil in a slow, steady stream through the hole in the lid. When the dressing is emulsified, add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Note: * If you don’t have a blender; be sure to mince the garlic and shallots really fine. Combine all of the ingredients except for the canola oil in a medium bowl. Use a whisk and whisk the ingredients while pouring the oil in a slow steady stream into the bowl.