I love the produce section at my local warehouse store. They have restaurant quality fruits and vegetables, and generally better prices than my local supermarket.
I love the variety and colors available. The mini tri-colored Holland peppers are my favorite--like little pepper offspring. Next to them today I spied a 6 pack of avocados for only $4.99. Giving them a squeeze I found my thumb sunk into the flesh just enough to indicate they were just perfect for immediate use. My mind skipped to dinner and I thought of slicing them up with tacos. But that wouldn't use up the entire bag of ripe and ready green goddesses. As I pushed my heavily laden cart into the walk in refrigerator (which was blissful in today's 80 degree heat), I thought about Mother's Day coming up this weekend and an elegant salad came to mind. Two of my favorite things are gazpacho soup and guacamole. I don't know if it is the combination of the cool fresh vegetables and piquant Latin flavors or the overall feeling of lightness when indulging in these fresh and healthy starters. I decided to combine them for a lovely layered salad that is a visual feast for a celebratory table.
Say Ole and enjoy your day with mom.
3 English Cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
1 orange Holland pepper, seeded and diced
1 yellow Holland pepper, seeded and diced
2 medium vine ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
2 medium ripe, firm avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons chopped, fresh chives
1/2 cup chopped scallions
¼ cup chopped, fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon ground cumin
kosher salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
For Jalapeno Cream:
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded
1 clove garlic
¼ cup cilantro, packed
1 teaspoon lime juice
For Plantain Chips:
1 large ripe plantain
½ Tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
In a large mixing bowl, place cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and avocados. Pour lemon and lime juice over avocado mixture and toss gently to coat. In a small bowl or shaker bottle, whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour over salad and toss gently. Cover and chill for 1 hour. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
To serve, spoon into individual glass bowls. Top with a dollop of Jalapeno cream and garnish with 2 or 3 plantain chips. Pass additional jalapeno cream and plantain chips on the side.
For Jalapeno Cream:
In a blender or food processor, process all ingredients until well blended. Place in a covered bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
For plantain chips:
Line a cookie sheet with non-stick foil or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Slice plantains 1/8-inch thick and place in single layer on cookie sheets. Brush both sides with olive oil. Sprinkle tops of plantains with salt. Broil on high on top oven rack for 5-6 minutes or until they begin to brown. Turn oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Cool on rack for 10 minutes, remove with a spatula.