The phone rang as I rushed from the gym, still damp from head to toe. My thoughts raced as I answered….”Yes of course I can”…. manage to make lunch for an old client friend of mine. Joanne wanted me to meet her new Director boyfriend, and they were coming to my place. I had two and a half hours to shower, dress, shop, and prepare a light, beautiful and tasty meal.
As I showered, I visualized something fast, easy, healthy and dazzling in a montage of images and flavors. I composed a solution for this lunch “affair”, my Tropical Mesclun Salad with Orange Poppy Seed Dressing. I added seafood to the recipe to make it a main course. The seafood would harmonize well with the greens, fruit and citrus dressing.
As I put on my jacket and gathered my purse, I calculated that I’d have forty-five minutes to get to the grocery store and back, and forty-five minutes to prepare the meal and dress the table. It would work.
Tropical Mesclun Salad with Orange Poppy Seed Dressing
This recipe is more about buying quality produce and seafood and arranging it beautifully, rather than actual cooking. Wine glasses filled with sparkling water and slices of fresh lime add the finishing touch to the table.
- 1 pound mesclun
- 1 ripe mango, peeled and cubed
- 3 ripe kiwis, peeled and cut into rounds
- 1 ripe papaya, peeled, pitted, cut lengthwise into cross sections and into small triangles
- 2 small carambola (star fruit), cut crosswise into star shapes
- 1 pound medium shrimp, cooked & cleaned (leave tails on for visual appeal) or
- 1 pound cooked lobster meat, diced
Orange Poppy Seed Dressing
- 1/2 cup orange juice, preferably fresh squeezed
- 1/2 cup orange juice concentrate, thawed
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon finely minced shallot
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- sea salt to taste
1. Divide and arrange salad greens among 4 plates. Arrange the fruit over the greens alternating colors and textures.
2. In a small bowl, combine the orange juice, orange juice concentrate, shallot, crushed red pepper, poppy seeds and sea salt to taste. Whisk in the olive oil gradually until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Sserve the dressing on the side in a cruet or bowl with small ladle.