Thursday, July 27, 2006

Summer Fresh Salads

Beach Night prompted the preparation of cool and portable fare with the added bonus of using up fruits and veggies, making room in the fridge for more produce from the upcoming farmers market. The stars of these dishes are organic white corn and a sweet orange melon so redolent with perfume that my kitchen smelled of it for hours.
Clay was unable to go to beach night last night so I was hoping to bring some of my offerings home for him. Hah! I brought nothing home with me but empty containers. That and visions of smiling faces - my highest aspiration.
These recipes are easily prepared in under one hour's time. Allow further time for chilling.

Corn, Avocado & Mango Salad
Ingredients:

½ sweet onion, finely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded, veins removed, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, veins removed, finely chopped

1 large mango, peeled, sliced from seed, small dice
3-4 ears sweet corn, shucked, silk removed, blanched, kernels sliced from ears
2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
2 avocados, small dice
Preparation:
Fill a large stock pot 2/3 of the way full with water and bring to a boil. Place ears of corn into the boiling water and allow to boil 5 minutes. Remove corn, drain water from pot then return the corn to the pot and run cold water over until cooled. Dry with paper towels and slice kernels from the ears with a sharp knife.
Prepare the rest of the ingredients, except the avocados, and gently mix them all together in a large bowl. Refrigerate until cold.
When you're ready to serve the salad, cut the avocados into small dice and gently stir into the corn-mango mixture. Toss gently with the vinaigrette and serve.
To take this to the beach, prepare everything in advance, mix it all together gently, including the avocados and vinaigrette, and place into a large plastic container with a snap on lid. Just before serving, turn the container over from top to bottom a few times to mix the contents.

Lime-Chile Vinaigrette
Ingredients:

Juice from one lime
½ teaspoon Splenda or sugar
½ teaspoon salt-free chili powder
Pinch kosher salt
A few grinds of good pepper
2 tablespoons pear nectar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation:
Mix first 6 ingredients together in a glass measuring cup. Whisk in the oil until just blended. Don't emulsify.

Melon & Blueberries in Raspberry Wine with Fresh Mint Ingredients:

1 orange melon, such as cantaloupe or charentais, medium cubes
1 cup blueberries, whole
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
¼ cup raspberry wine (mine came from Trader Joe’s and contains a whopping 14% alcohol!)

Preparation:
Mix all of the ingredients together and chill before serving for at least 2 hours, 4 would be better.
I call this a salad, but we actually ate it after the main dishes and it made quite a refreshing dessert. At home, you could spoon this over vanilla ice cream and I'll bet it wouldn't hurt anyone's feelings.