Mango Salad With Ginger-Raisin Vinaigrette
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 cup boiling water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons malt vinegar, or red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 fresh green Thai, Serrano or small jalapeño chile, stemmed and finely chopped (see Note)
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 cups mesclun, or other mixed baby salad greens (5 ounces)
1 large ripe, firm mango, peeled and diced (see Note)
1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
To prepare dressing: Place raisins and boiling water in a small bowl. Let soften for 30 minutes. Drain; transfer the raisins to a blender. Add oil, vinegar, cilantro, ginger, chile and salt. Puree, scraping the sides as needed, until smooth. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the dressing.
To prepare salad: Place greens in a large bowl and toss with the remaining dressing. Divide among 6 plates. Place mango and bell pepper in the bowl; add the reserved tablespoon of dressing and toss to coat. Top the greens with the mango mixture. Serve immediately.
Notes: Fresh and dried chiles vary widely in spiciness depending on variety and seasonality. Smaller varieties are generally hotter. The compound that makes chiles hot, capsaicin, is found in the inner membrane and seeds. Add chiles with caution when cooking, tasting as you go. To peel and dice a mango: Slice both ends off the mango, revealing the long, slender seed inside. Set the fruit upright on a work surface and remove the skin with a sharp knife. With the seed perpendicular to you, slice the fruit from both sides of the seed, yielding two large pieces. Turn the seed parallel to you and slice the two smaller pieces of fruit from each side. Cut the fruit into the desired shape.
You can top with diced chicken, pork, shrimp or ham.
Tonight, I’m serving this salad as an entree with warm fresh baguette and fresh fruit compote.