Now, Here’s a Main Course Salad That is Anything But Boring.
Yeah, it’s blisteringly hot outside and I’m not in the mood to spend a lot of time in a hot kitchen. But I had some Rancho Gordo Royal Corona Beans and love them in a salad, so I soaked them overnight and put them on to cook early in the day. If you want to make this even easier, you could use a can or two of cooked and drained white beans. While they won’t be the same as the huge and creamy Royal Coronas, they’ll still be good. I also blanched a pound of fresh green beans and put them in the refrigerator to chill. That way when I went in to prep the rest of my ingredients later in the day, the kitchen was nice and cool.
As I’ve mentioned many times, salad-type meals are probably my favorite dishes to eat. Of course, I’m not referring to boring mediocre salads. I mean a forkful of something unexpected and exciting in every bite. So, besides the Royal Coronas and green beans, I decided to use cabbage for crunch, radishes for a pop of peppery flavor, a peach or nectarine for sweetness, and some scallions.
Times like this are when I find that having a pound of frozen cooked shrimp on hand comes in really handy. I gave them a quick thaw and my salad was on its way. Earlier in the day I’d decided that I needed an exceptionally bright dressing in order for this salad to really sing. I started tasting different vinegars, knowing I wanted to use fresh lime juice, too.
That’s when my son suggested using chamoy .* If you’ve never tasted this Mexican condiment, the best way to describe it comes straight from Wikipedia – salty, sweet, sour, and spiced with chilies. We use it for drizzling on fresh mangoes and it is essential in a mangonada – a delicious mango slushy type of treat.
And it also makes a fantastic salad dressing. My son’s instincts were spot on. The only things I needed to add were a little maple syrup, fresh lime juice, black pepper, and avocado oil. Talk about a wow factor. I just knew this dressing was going to be worthy of all the other elements that went into this dish.
I dressed the cabbage in a little of the dressing and let it chill while I sliced the radishes, scallions and fruit. Then it was only a matter of layering everything onto a big platter, spooning on a little of the dressing, along with a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkling on nigella seeds .*
I think you can probably imagine how all this tasted. It was as good as I’d hoped, if not better. Crusty bread rounded out this meal and days later we’re still talking about it. For me and my family this is summer eating at its best.