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Perfect for hot summer days and evenings, this refreshing salad emphasizes the delicate sweetness of papaya and the earthiness of salad greens. Adding vibrancy to the salad are savory Kalamata olives and a touch of cayenne to lift the spirits. With its brilliant contrasting colors, the salad's good looks may help spark waning appetites during those steamy days when we yearn for cooling foods.
PATIO PARTY PAPAYA SALAD
WITH ZESTY CILANTRO DRESSING
Yield: 3 to 4 servings
4 ounces spinach leaves, thoroughly washed and torn into bite-size pieces
4 leaves romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1 ear fresh corn, kernels cut from the cob
1 small cucumber, cut into lengthwise quarters, then sliced crosswise
1/2 yellow or red bell pepper, cut into thin julienne
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1 or 2 green onions, chopped
1 recipe Zesty Cilantro Dressing
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 Mexican papaya
2 tablespoons, finely minced purple cabbage
- Combine the spinach, romaine, corn, cucumber, bell pepper, pecans, Kalamata olives, and green onions in a large, shallow salad bowl.
- Toss with 1/2 cup Zesty Cilantro Dressing and the cayenne, mixing well to distribute the dressing throughout. Open the center of the salad by pushing the dressed greens to the side to make room for the papaya.
- Cut the papaya into lengthwise quarters and use a spoon to scoop out the papaya seeds. Save the seeds to make a Papaya Seed Salad Dressing for a future salad. Peel and discard the papaya skin. Cut one papaya quarter in half lengthwise, then into crosswise slices. Pile the papaya slices into the center of the salad bowl and garnish with a generous sprinkling of the minced purple cabbage. Save the remaining 3/4 of the papaya for another recipe or to quadruple this salad for a crowd of 16 to 20 people.
Zesty Cilantro Dressing
Yield: about 1 3/4 cups
2 cups lightly packed coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup water
1/2 cup cashews or macadamias
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 to 3 teaspoons red miso
2 garlic cloves
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon guar gum or xanthan gum
- Combine all the ingredients in the blender and blend at high speed until they are fully pureed and the dressing becomes smooth and creamy.
- Use a funnel to pour the dressing into a narrow-neck bottle for easy serving. Use immediately or chill and use later. Shake well before serving. Refrigerated, the dressing will keep for 1 week.
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