I was talking to Bethany yesterday, and she was a little flummoxed about lettuce bounty--in her CSA box, in her garden. That's the thing with lettuce--there's really nothing to do but eat it fresh. Something more sturdy, like kale, collards, or chard, can be cooked down and shrunk. But darn if those heads of lettuce don't crowd out everything else in the fridge and taunt you with their healthiness and perishability.
I'm having my own Lettucepalooza here, so it's salad time. As you may have noticed, I don't make much attempt to vary my diet for the purpose of this blog. I may have salad every night this summer, but that won't keep me from talking about it again. I've shared this tip before, but washing, drying, and wrapping my greens in paper towels is the single biggest factor in me eating and using them. A big head of unwashed lettuce is pretty intimidating at the end of the day when everyone is hungry. After I've washed and spun my greens (in a salad spinner--duh! I couldn't live without it), I pull off about 4 paper towels from my roll and keep them hooked together in a strip. I lay my greens out evenly along the strip, then roll the whole thing up like a towel--not too tight, but not so loose that pieces fall out. Then I put the roll in a big Ziploc bag, and they keep beautifully for a week.
Today was a marathon--two big events at Wyatt's school, more catering shopping, Yancey at the station. We're all tired. Though Wyatt just said, "Mom, today was the best day of the whole school year." I hardly saw him tonight at the party--he was too busy fraternizing with his little friends (and eating God knows how many pieces of cake). One thing I'm happy about is my kids are great at making friends, but they still have good boundaries. They amaze me, both of them, every day. And while reading books to Wyatt, he said, "Mom, do you want me to rub your head?" What's better than that? Not even this ambrosial salad.
Mango Chicken Salad with Honey Sesame Vinaigrette
Serves 4. In the hot places where mangos and avocados are grown, it must be their season. Is it? Anybody know? We can't get enough of them lately, and they're ripe, cheap, and perfect everywhere. The kids have been eating a couple mangos each per day! And I've been eating almost as many avocados. They're the good fat, right? And we're still nibbling on that rotisserie chicken. I love it when the stars and seasons align for endless salad combinations. You could use baked tofu in this salad or just leave the protein out.
4 big handfuls washed greens (I used arugula)
2 ripe but not too soft mangos, cubed
2 avocados, cubed
2 c. cooked shredded chicken
2 red jalapenos sliced into rings (I don't seed these because they're mild--to my taste, at least!)
1/4 c. slivered almonds
handful chopped fresh cilantro
handful fresh mint, torn over the top at the last minute
Arrange greens on 4 plates. Top artfully with everything else. Drizzle dressing over.
2 Tb. sesame seeds
4 Tb. honey
2 ts. soy sauce
little bit of salt
red pepper flakes
4 Tb. rice wine vinegar
3 Tb. sesame oil
Whisk everything except sesame oil together. Whisk in sesame oil, tasting all the while. Add more of anything to your liking.