Tuesday, March 29, 2011

First Night Dinner Salad with Red Wine and Paprika Vinaigrette

Several years ago, we spent New Year's with friends on the Big Island of Hawaii.  We rented a large house overlooking the ocean with lots of room and a good-enough kitchen, if you know what I mean. On the way to the house from the airport, we found a Farmers' Market and bought some things we had all been craving, most especially papayas and macadamia nuts. And together with a few more supplies put together what we called First Night Dinner Salad. Just fantastic.

2 heads butter lettuce, washed, dried, and torn into pieces
1 pink grapefruit, sectioned, see instructions
1 small papaya, seeded, peeled, and sliced
½ cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
4-5 slices of bacon, cut crosswise into ½-inch strips
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion or green onion
Coarse-grain Hawaiian salt, if available (white or pink), optional 

Red wine and paprika vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon paprika, smoky or regular
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Place the sectioned grapefruit (see instructions for peeling and sectioning citrus) and sliced papaya in separate bowls.
2. Fry the bacon until it is slightly brown and a little crispy. (I like limp bacon but I may be alone in my preference.)
3. Make the vinaigrette by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl and stirring with a fork to mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning. You can add a touch of sugar if your vinegar is quite sour.
4. Mix the greens with the onions in a salad bowl. Add about half of the dressing and toss carefully.
5. Arrange the greens on four dinner plates. Distribute the papaya slices, grapefruit sections, bacon, and macadamia nuts over the greens. Spoon the remaining dressing over each plate to moisten the fruit and nuts. Sprinkle with the optional coarse salt.

You can also add avocado slices if you desire.

4 servings for a light dinner or 6 for a side salad
My own devising

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