There are times in midwinter when I simply crave the glorious light, the warm breeze, the blue skies and the exotic flavors of my little birth island. I am a tropical creature who has adapted the best she can to the endless frigid months of the northeastern United Sates, but there are days that are very hard to bear.
Luckily, summer is in full swing on the other side of the globe, and the fruits and veggies that abound there at this time of the year make a welcome appearance on our market shelves.
So when I see ripe avocados and mangoes piled high at my local grocery store, I am relieved and happy for the little bit of sunshine they bring with them!
And then I let that sun shine right through the dishes I prepare with them, like this simple but flavorful salad. The avocado and mango slices are tucked in a delicious hug, while the arugula provides a crunchy, spicy bed. The Tequila-lime vinaigrette begs to be drizzled over the whole thing and the crispy tortilla strips add a touch of playfulness — a little something your teeth will be happy to wrestle with.
This salad never fails to chase my winter blues away!
I can only hope it does the same for you — and even makes you swing from side to side, singing your heart out, like Kate Bush does in Eat the Music.
Sokol Blosser — Evolution #9, Lucky Edition ($15)
“Nine perfect grapes, all dancing in tune together to make a great white wine” is how the Evolution, Lucky Edition is introduced on the Sokol Blosser‘s website. You can imagine how that statement intrigued me! Then there’s the promise that it is “extraordinarily food-friendly and will stand up to just about any food pairing you dare to serve it with.” Now I couldn’t wait to pop that cork! Since the wine promised to be so exotic and friendly at the same time, I thought it would be a perfect match to my tropicalesque salad.
Indeed, the wine didn’t disappoint.
As soon as I stuck my nose in the glass, lovely floral aromas filled my nostrils. “Peach blossoms” are the first words that came out of my mouth! Just lovely. Then I took a sip. I looked at Marc (my husband) as he took a first sip. “I love this wine,” he exclaimed with a big smile on his face! (If I want any more than that I really have to probe him, but I will say that it’s very rare for him to spontaneously declare his love for a white wine!)
What I could taste, right off the bat, were lovely tropical fruit notes and a hint of citrus. On second sip, I started appreciating the wine’s smoothness and balanced acidity. This wine was going to love my salad!
So “Eat the Music,” and “Drink the Music” too… and for a little bit of fun, watch this video. It might make you feel very, very lucky!
Avocado and Mango Salad with Tequila-Lime Vinaigrette
active time: 25 min
For the vinaigrette
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest (use a microplane grater)
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (use a microplane grater)
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon Reposado Tequila
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 3 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
For the tortilla strips
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large flour tortilla – cut in 1/8” x 2” strips
- large pinch sea salt
For the salad
- 2 bunches arugula – root ends trimmed, rinsed and spun dry
- 1 firm, ripe avocado – peeled and cut in 1/8” slices
- 1 large ripe mango – peeled, cheeks cut in 1/8” slices
- Step 1: To make the vinaigrette – Place the zests, juice, Tequila, vinegar, oil, Tabasco and salt in a small bowl and whisk until well blended. Set aside.
- Step 2: To make the tortilla strips – Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and the tortilla strips. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until golden on all sides and crispy, tossing from time to time. Remove from heat, transfer to a plate, sprinkle with salt and cool to room temperature.
- Cook’s note: Once cooled, the tortilla strips can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Step 3: To serve – Place a few leaves of arugula in the center of each plate. Drizzle with half the vinaigrette. Top with slices of avocado and mangoes, alternating them and slightly overlapping the slices. Drizzle with the balance of the vinaigrette. Garnish with the tortilla strips and serve immediately.
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Disclaimer: As always, my point of view is my own. I do not accept samples, and have no commercial relationship with any product, food or wine company.