Wednesday, October 7, 2015

You ought to eat more vegetables if you are an average person.  Truth be told, if I get three fruits or vegetables in my diet a day, I feel like I am winning the battle against vegetables.  I try to make an honest effort but when I eat a vegetable heavy meal and I am starving an hour later.  Not that the excuse is necessary, you guys aren't my mom (all but one of you, hi, Mom!).  Fact of the matter, I could eat more vegetables.

Vegetables are also the place where I feel like a personal failure as a home cook.  I know I need to eat them, but I just don't like them as much as bread and meat things.  When I am planning the dinners for the week, it goes meat + starch + vegetable = meal.  The vegetable is usually one of those steam in a bag varieties.  Maybe I will remember to add some salt and pepper or a little butter.  Mostly we just force them down like an inconveniently sized vitamin.  I love this dish because it is LOADED with different vegetables and it is a break from boring old salad.

There is just something about brightly colored food that makes my mouth water.  It is a delight to the eye and a delight to the taste buds.  Zesty, spicy, crunchy and sweet.  This salad satisfies on many levels!

You will need:
1 small shallot, peeled and sliced into thin rings
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
1/4 medium serrano chile, seeded and minced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1 large ripe mango
1 English cucumber, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 TSP roasted salted peanuts

To start, take your shallot rings and dunk them into a bowl of ice water for about 20-30 minutes.  I don't know why or how, but this really takes the sharp bite out of the onion.  If you like 'em sharp, skip this step.

In a bowl, mix the lime juice, serrano, and cilantro together and set aside.

For the mango, you want to balance the stem end on your cutting board and slice off the 'cheeks' of the mango.  The center is a hard pit, so you are just cutting the flesh around it.  Take each cheek, and score the fruit with your knife with horizontal and vertical cuts.  You are making the fruit into cubes while still attached to the skin.  Scoop the fruit away from the skin with a spoon and you should have lovely square mango hunks.  Add the mango hunks to the lime juice mixture.

Next to the lime juice mix, add the cucumbers and tomatoes.  Drain the shallots from the ice water and add to the bowl.  Add in the kosher salt, and taste for seasoning.  Add more salt, serrano or lime if needed.  Toss well to mix and coat with lime.

In a small skillet over medium heat, add peanuts.  Toast in pan for 3-4 minutes, shaking frequently.  You want the peanuts to get fragrant and have some brown charred spots.  Top the salad with your roasted peanuts and serve.  Eat those veggies! :)

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