Dressing up your salads with papaya
The papaya - mellow in color and comforting to hold in the palm of the hand - is also very good for you. High in vitamin C, folate, potassium and lots of other happy nutrients and antioxidants, it would definitely fall on the plus side of almost any diet.
While it's perfectly good enough to simply cut your papaya in half, scoop out the seeds, then dig in with a spoon, it's nice to find another way to capitalize on its nutritional bounty, thanks to a request from Leanne Chuck.
She is enamored of the Papaya-Champagne Vinaigrette served at the Mariposa at Neiman Marcus. At the restaurant, the dressing is drizzled over an Applewood Salmon Salad, which includes greens, Maui onion and goat cheese.
It's a very easy dressing to mix up - a relatively short list of ingredients is simply pureed smooth in a blender. Results will vary some, though, depending on the type of papaya and sparkling wine that you use.
Mariposa mixes up 5 gallons at a time, so for consistency's sake a prepared papaya puree is used - Perfect Puree, which I haven't found sold retail locally. It is available at $22.50 for 30 ounces by mail at www.perfectpuree.com, but really, with fresh papaya so easy to find, why would you bother?
The recipe that follows has been cut down 20 times from the original, but my trial batch using fresh papaya was a good match to one from Mariposa. The dressing is a beautiful golden color with a tart, fruity taste. Your best bet is to make the dressing according to the proportions listed here, then taste and make adjustments - probably in the vinegar and sugar.
Bonus result: You get to drink the rest of the champagne.
18 ounces papaya puree (about 2-1/4 cups), see note
5 tablespoons sparkling wine
3/4 cup olive oil
2-1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2-1/2 teaspoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons sugar
Put all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth. Taste and add more vinegar or sugar if needed. Dressing should be tart. Makes about 4 cups.
Note: To make puree from fresh papaya, peel fruit and remove seeds; place chunks of fruit in blender. Puree until smooth.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 35 calories, 2 g fat, no saturated fat, cholesterol or sodium, 5 g carbohydrate, no fiber or protein, 4 g sugar.
CAN YOU HELP?
Two requests have come in recently that are intriguing, but have me stumped. If you can help solve either mystery, get in touch. The address is below:
» Fran Wong is looking for a recipe she cut out of the newspaper 30 to 35 years ago. It was for a pot roast of Cornish game hens, made on the stove top. All she remembers is that the recipe had thyme in it. Does anyone have this saved from the '70s?
» GT, a recent visitor, enjoyed a Tripe Poke "from a store in Waianae or Nanakuli somewhere." Who knows where this might have come from?
Nutritional analyses by Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S.
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