In 2009, I had the great pleasure of meeting Jaden Hair at her book signing in New York City. Jaden is a fantastic cook, and the talented author of the popular blog Steamy Kitchen. With her huge smile and endearing personality, Jaden never fails to light up the room.
Last week I was honored to contribute a guest post for Steamy Kitchen – and may I say, it was a thrill to create a recipe that would match both her personality and her gorgeous blog.
Since Jaden and I both adore fresh, bold, colorful salads, I decided to create a summery one, using heirloom tomatoes, ripe avocados and baby arugula from my garden. The whole salad is drizzled with a spunky cilantro vinaigrette that’s almost like a cilantro pesto (the pine nuts give the dressing a lovely creaminess).
Then the salad is garnished with crispy wonton strips that have been lightly sautéed in olive oil until they’re crunchy and golden-brown. Every bite is a delight, offering a marvelous array of flavors and textures.
To read my guest post for Jaden, click here. While you’re there, make sure to take a few minutes to peruse Jaden’s site. It’s filled with treasures that you’ll love to discover.
Heirloom Tomato and Avocado Salad with Crispy Wontons and Spicy Cilantro Vinaigrette
active time: 20 min
For the wontons
- 12 square wonton noodles
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- sea salt to taste
For the vinaigrette
- 1 oz (28gr) cilantro leaves (1 cup, tightly packed)
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- 1 garlic clove – skinned
- 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or organic sugar
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
For the salad
- 5 oz (142gr) baby arugula – rinsed and spun dry
- 2 ripe avocados – cut in 1” pieces
- 1 1/4 lbs (567gr) mixed heirloom tomatoes – cut in 1” pieces
- freshly ground white pepper to taste
- Step 1: Cut the wontons in 1/4” strips. Heat a large frying pan at medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and wonton strips. Toss well, then sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until they become golden-brown, continuing to toss occasionally. Transfer wontons to a paper towel and sprinkle with the salt.
- Step 2: To make the vinaigrette – Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process until creamy, about 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl once. Transfer to a small bowl.
- Step 3: Divide the arugula into 4 salad bowls. Top with the avocado and tomato pieces. Drizzle with the vinaigrette. Garnish with the crispy wontons. Sprinkle with the pepper and serve immediately.
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Crispy wontons, step by step
Cut the wontons in 1/4″ strips.
Heat a large frying pan at medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and wonton strips.
Toss well, then sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until they become golden-brown, continuing to toss occasionally.
This is how the wontons look when they are done.
Transfer wontons to a paper towel and sprinkle with the salt.
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.