Friday, August 13, 2010

Libertarian at the Salad Bar

Remember in middle school when every paper you wrote somewhere contained the phrase, "Webster's dictionary defines..."?

And remember in college when every earnest letter to the editor began:  As a... [fill in occupation/major, ethnicity, gender, eye color, in any order]?

My high school reunion and birthday are nigh, so I'm feeling my age. I was thinking that if I started this piece with the Webster's bit or, "As a brown-eyed woman who usually eats three meals daily..." it might make me sound younger. Or daft.

Anyway, Webster's Dictionary defines salad as, "A preparation of vegetables, as lettuce, celery, water cress, onions, etc., usually dressed with salt, vinegar, oil, and spice." In my house, a salad should only be made from one of three things: red leaf, green leaf or Romaine. Additions (red onion, grape tomatoes, English cucumber) are viewed with skepticism, at best, but more commonly as a Libertarian views federal spending: "disappointing and troubling," in case you don't have time for the link.

Avocado salad is such an offense (it contains black beans!) that I really only make it for myself or like-palated friends. If you're not averse to the combining and tossing of vegetables you will just love it.

Avocado Salad
Print recipe only here

Serves 6-8 as a side dish

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained (dump them into a mesh strainer or colander and run water over them)
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
zest of one lime
juice of 2 limes
1-2 T good olive oil
1 t kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 ripe avocados cut into 1/2-inch dice (at point of service - do not prep any earlier)

Place the tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jalapeño peppers, and lime zest in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic, and cayenne pepper and pour over the vegetables. Toss well.

Just before you're ready to serve the salad, cut the avocados and gently stir nto the salad. Check the seasoning and serve at room temperature.

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