|Grilled Mango and Blue Cheese Salad with Marcona Almonds|
One think I've learned from watching Food Network is that great chefs seem to look for a balance of flavors and textures in their dishes. In terms of texture, chefs often like to add a little crunch to a dish that is predominately smooth in texture. In terms of flavors, they like a balance between sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Balancing flavors basically means that you combine tastes in such a way that they temper and complement one another, with no one flavor overpowering the whole dish.
This salad does a great job of keeping lots of flavors in balance, as well as providing a variety of textures. It's actually a riff off of a salad that I saw Chef Michael Symon make on the steak episode of Symon's Suppers. He grilled peaches for his salad, which sounded heavenly to me, but it's springtime here, and there were no peaches to be found. What to do?
Well, because of what I'm learning, I realized that the flavor and texture that peaches provide is a fruit that's smooth and sweet. What other fruit fits that profile, and is in season? Mangoes! They're all over the grocery stores around here right now.
His recipe called for baby arugula, but I had some artisinal lettuces I'd found at Costco: too good to let go to waste! So I used those.
As for the blue cheese? Use whatever kind you like. I found a luscious, mild creamy blue cheese that was featured at Trader Joe's last month called Saint Agur.
So, this salad has crisp greens, crunchy Marcona almonds, creamy blue cheese, sweet grilled mango, and the lovely acidity and fat of the vinaigrette: a veritable party for your mouth, as well as a feast for your eyes! I've made it 3 times since: it's that good! Enjoy this balancing act of flavors and textures!
|I can just taste all those flavors and textures now! Yum!!!|
1 ripe mango, halved and pitted
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 t. honey
1/2 c. Marcona almonds
3 to 4 c. salad greens
1/2 c. of your favorite blue cheese, crumbled (I used St. Agur from Trader Joe's)
Caramelize the mango: Heat the grill to medium or a cast iron skillet till it's hot. Drizzle the mango with 1 t. of the olive oil, and grill (or place in the cast iron skillet till it caramelizes) for about 1 - 2 minutes. Cut the mango out of the peel, into bite sized pieces.
In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, vinegar, mustard, honey, and remaining olive oil. Season with salt to taste.
Gently mix together the warm mango, almonds, salad greens and blue cheese in a large mixing bowl. Toss with the vinaigrette.
If this recipe sounds good to you, I'd be glad for you to share it on Facebook or Twitter. Or, if you prefer, I definitely think it's PinterestWorthy.
Do you make salad very often at your house?