Home Contact Recipes About

My “I Love You All” Papaya Salad

Papaya salad on an Asian dressing

Blame it on the rain. – We were all set up at the market, us vendors, ready for the customers. But it was unusually grey and wet and unfriendly on that specific morning, and the clients very obviously were not in a rush. So we had time to walk between each others booths, and chat. And of course we talked (mostly) food. My friend from San Salvador told me about a meal a Chinese neighbor had fixed for her – a Thai version of green Papaya salad with chicken. She gave one of the green – not quite ripe – Papayas her neighbor is growing in Matlacha to me. I was fascinated and kept on tinkering about what I would be transforming my green gift into.

Later that day, my son came home from his farm job with a box of longish, yellow, beautifully glowing peppers I had never seen before. A little research made clear that they were Aji Amarillo. From Peru. – One more tempting country and cuisine. One that ignited my plan: I was going to make  salad of Floridian products that have their roots in South- and Central America, and an Asian style dressing. An ode to all of my international food and market friends.

unripe papaya

open papaya, with  seeds

Julienning the Papaya on a mandolin makes for a good crunch. I used Aji Amarillo, Serrano and Red Bell peppers, simply because I had those on hand. One can adjust the varieties to desire, creating a more or less spicy salad. I also added red and yellow Cherry Tomatoes, which turned out to be vibrant eye catchers. For more green speckles (besides the fine strips of Serrano), i put in fresh, chopped Cilantro and some green onions. Basil would work very well also, as would the addition of cooked green beans. By using sesame oil, lime juice, soy sauce and cooking rice wine, I kept the dressing simple yet tasty. This salad can be served as a light appetizer, a refreshing side dish or, complemented by fresh, grilled or dried shrimp, some cooked chicken, seared Tofu and a handful of toasted peanuts or cashews, as a healthy main dish.

Oh, and it works as a cooling meal on a sweltering hot day just as well as for a brightening and soothing bite on a rainy one. So no blaming here.

ingredients for papaya salad

Continue reading “My “I Love You All” Papaya Salad” »

Past Supper #6 – A very fine French Dinner

Amuse Bouche of black olive Tapenade, carrots and celery. – Entrees* of Bone Marrow with crunchy bread & salt, plus: Shrimp Provencale. Both simply grand. – Intercourse: Bibb lettuce on an ideally minimal vinaigrette.-  Plat Principal: Sweet Breads on a creamy Calvados sauce. Roasted potatoes, Haricots Verts tied with a carrot ribbon. Classic and delicious. – Dessert: Mousse au chocolat “the unusual way”: Very dark, very dense and with a hint of mint. Perfect. – Lillet (just out of romance) as an Aperitif. Sancerre Rouge to accompany the food (rustic and robust, maybe a bit short. But a great and versatile table wine.)

So this was one of my belated birthday gifts to my husband. It didn’t happen at our house but at “My Blue Windows” restaurant in Fort Myers, FL. A so called hole in the wall – which is rare enough around here. So French and European in every aspect – truly, not just pretended. Home away from home. Total bliss.

(* Entree in French means the first course, or appetizer. – What is titled a main course in the USA is called Plat Principal (main plate) in the French cuisine.)