Saturday, April 21, 2012

Asian Greens and Mangoes

Asian Greens with Bean Sprouts, Red Pepper and Mango
I very rarely buy those packages of mixed salad greens--all too often I've opened them to find that roughly half the contents are what I call "pre-compost." But a new one caught my eye the other day, and it looked super-fresh, so I gave it a shot. It was called "Five Happiness," by Organic Girl, and to say it did not disappoint would be a spectacular understatement. It must have just come off the truck, because every single leaf was resplendent and bursting with lifejuice (a neologism coined just now). I couldn't wait to make something that would do them justice.

At the same market, I found some irresistibly ripe champagne mangoes, and this salad formed instantly in my head, which I would later dub "Asian Greens with Bean Sprouts, Red Pepper and Mango."

I combined the greens, mung bean sprouts, slices of the mango, and strips of roasted and peeled red pepper (for a step-by-step demo showing how to roast and peel peppers, check out my 14-minute webinar--it's in there about halfway through). For the dressing, I wanted something very light that would spark it to life without getting in the way. I pressed a little garlic into a bowl and added fresh lime juice, splashes of tamari and sriracha sauce, and just a dab of toasted sesame oil. I whisked it together and quickly tossed the salad. After piling it on plates, I topped each serving with thinly cut scallion slivers.

This salad now holds an iconic spot in my taste memory--one of those that not only stand out as near-perfect, but that also rely completely on specific ingredients that must be at the peak of freshness and ripeness. Crunchy, juicy, spicy, sweet, sour, bright, light, and thoroughly satisfying. Unbelievable. Sometimes I surprise even myself--which of course is the crass way of acknowledging that flow of genuine inspiration we mortals receive directly from the divine. Hats off to the kitchen gods!

My 19-year-old son, who is decidedly not interested in anything vegan, declared it a winner. To be fair, he is (as I am) profoundly enamored with mango in any form, so this was a slam-dunk from the get-go. But one must use one's wiles if one is to promulgate one's worldview among those determined to resist it. Sounds like a message you'd pull out of a fortune cookie, doesn't it? Apropos.

P.S. You go, Organic Girl!

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