Secret Weapons for a Great Summer Salad

This spring and summer I've been making a salad with large chunks of tomato, avodado and mango. In fact, I shared the recipe in early May.

I've been getting rave reviews about the salad since the first time I put it together.  What makes the salad work so well, besides being a nice combination of ingredients, is the viniagrette. It's just five ingredients, but the recipe has very nice proportions, using both olive and peanut oils, and rice wine vinegar and sherry vinegar. The viniagrette proportions are in the same recipe article, and I'll include them in the next post too.

The only downside is that the salad is a little pricy, as avocados and mangos are fairly expnsive ingredients. So when serving a crowd it's not so economical.

Last week I was cooking for our extended family, usually fifteen or sixteen people per night. On our "Steak Night" I wanted to serve a green salad with a few tomatoes. Simple enough. But I also had ONE mango that hadn't yet been used. So I decided to dice it up and add it to the salad. That decision too, was simple enough. Then I added 4 ounces of crumbled goat cheese. I thought it would get used on our happy hour cheese tray, but so far had been overlooked.

Why am I telling you this salad story? Because that simple salad, almost an afterthought of a dish, was the big hit of the night. Maybe even the hit of the week. Let's go over it again:

Romaine lettuce + plum tomatoes + a tiny, tiny bit of diced red onion + only one mango + goat cheese = rave reviews and requests for the recipe

I know the viniagrette, of which I used about three tablsepoons on three heads of romaine, is kind of a secret weapon that makes almost any salad special. Yet most of the discussion was about the mango. From my perspective, it was nothing much. But as with the avocado/mango/tomato salad, the mango seems to be a real crowd pleaser. The fact that the little bit of goat cheese turned the viniagrette into a creamy salad dressing was an added bonus.

It really was pretty darn good salad. It also was very, very simple except for one thing, which you can master quicly, if you haven't already. Peeling and dicing the mango. There are a couple ways to attack a mango. What I share in the next post is what seems to be easiest for most people.

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