Here in the Mediterranean we are used to eating salads. There’s nothing nicer on a hot day than having a delicious salad with your fish or tapas. But let’s face it we get bored eating the same ensalada mixta every day so we like to vary it. Try combining any of the tropical fruits you can find in your local supermarket or fruit and veg shop with your normal salad and voila you have a delicious Caribbean salad. Here I am using simple ingredients from the Mediterranean and the Caribbean …
to bring you this delicious salad right to your kitchen!
Mango is one of those fruits we all love…. we love it in smoothies, we love it with our greek yogurt and we love it on it’s own. It’s delicious made as an ice cream, its delicious as a mango smoothie but it’s also delicious as a salad! In our house we are all fighting over the mango stone when we cut open our mango as we don’t want to waste any part of it… first come first served!
We are also using papayas in this recipe. Papayas are full of antioxidants and taste delicious and are available in almost every supermarket around the world. My grandmother-in-law ate half a papaya every day and lived until her nineties. We are hoping to follow in her footsteps!
The Mediterranean ingredient we are using here is Manchego cheese.
Produced in La Mancha region of Spain it is made from sheep’s milk and aged over a certain amount to time to give different varieties. We use either the semicurado which is matured for 3 weeks to 3 months, the curado which is matured for 3-6 months or the viejo which is aged for a year. I like the curado as it tastes smooth, rich and creamy with a semi strong flavour which lingers for about a minute after you have eaten it. If you like strong cheese then I suggest you go for the viejo and if you prefer mild cheese then the semi curado. Manchego’s nutty flavour compliments exotic fruits (and wine!) which is why it goes so well with this salad. If you cannot find Manchego cheese in your area then the next best cheese in this salad would be Pecorino Romano.
Plantain crisps are a delicious accompaniment to this dish as they are crunchy and add a salty spicy flavour to the salad offsetting the sweetness provided by the exotic fruits. So please see my recipe for plantain crisps.
Avocados are the last main ingredient added but are also in my delicious salad dressing recipe. I eat one avocado a day for its antioxidant properties and am shocked that a lot of my French friends say they would never touch one because it’s fattening! Of course I’m in the process of converting them. These are full of healthy fats which are so good for you!
So to put this salad together make your dressing first. Deseed and chop your chilli. Chilli freezes brilliantly and only take a few minutes to defrost so they are always at hand.
Place this in your blender with all the dressing ingredients and whizz until smooth. It’s zesty, creamy, spicy and delicious, although you can lessen the spice by adding less chilli or omit it altogether if you like. I often double the recipe so that I have this delicious dressing on hand straight from my fridge!
Make your plantain crisps if using and drain on kitchen paper. Wash your lettuce and place on a large plate or in your favourite salad bowl. Cut up your tropical fruit and place in the salad along with your plantain crisps. Cut up your avocado and grate or crumble your manchego cheese in the the salad. Toss it all together with the salad dressing.
It is delicious on its own for lunch or as a side dish with any Mediterranean or Caribbean food!
- 1 cos lettuce or mixed salad leaves
- 1 large or 2 medium avocados
- 1 ripe mango
- ½ ripe papaya
- 100g (½ cup) manchego cheese
- plantain chips, optional
- 1 small avocado
- 1 small red chilli
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
- rind from half a lime,grated
- juice from 1 lime
- honey to taste
- Wash your lettuce and arrange on a large flat plate or in your favourite salad bowl.
- Make your plantain crisps if using by slicing the plantains thinly, and cooking in hot oil for 2 minutes. Drain and season.
- Peel and slice the mango and papaya and cut into chunks. Peel and slice the avocado. Grate or crumble the Manchego cheese.
- Arrange the lettuce in your favourite salad bowl or on a large plate. Mix the mango, papaya, cheese and mix in the salad dressing. Sprinkle the plantain crisps on top.
- Deseed the chilli and chop in to pieces.
- Add the chilli along with the other salad dressing ingredients except the honey and whizz until mixed through. If using honey to sweeten slightly add a little at a time.
- If you cannot find Manchego cheese in your area, then use Pecorino Romano in the same way.
- You may lessen or omit the chilli if you do not want a spicy salad dressing.