This is a salad I created quickly and without a lot of forethought, as an attempt to add more calories and colour to an otherwise delicious though remarkably light, in both senses of the word, lunch. It wasn't until it was gone that I realized how lovely it was and how much I wanted to share it with you.
While this salad is not a revolution by any means, it does include a couple of small potential revelations for you.
The first being that avocados work beautifully with Asian cuisine. I find that we often limit ourselves by associating them mostly with Latin American fare not realizing how applicable they are to Asian flavors too. One of my favorite interpretations of "guacamole," for example, is: avocado, soy sauce, garlic, and chili garnished with toasted crumbled nori. In lieu of corn tortillas I serve it with brown rice crackers or chips.
The second revelation is that avocado is not just an excellent component in salad, it is also a unique way to add more substance and creaminess to dressing. Introducing an avocado into your vinaigrette will transform it from a thin summer dress to a cozy winter cardigan. Your diners are comforted, not smothered. Sated, not stuffed.
If you're wondering if all this avocado is overkill the answer is that it is not. To begin, the fat in the avocado allows you to use less oil than you typically would. More importantly, the avocado disappears into velvet, it's flavour and colour overtaken by the other ingredients. All that remains is je ne sais quoi.
"What is in this dressing?" They will ask you. And this, my friends, is always good. Mystery.
shaved avocado peanut salad with with avocado soy dressing
salad, serves 4 as a side dish
2 medium sized avocados
juice of 1 lime
3 roma tomatoes
handful toasted peanuts or cashews
Peel the avocados, and slice them on a mandolin. If you don't have a mandolin you can use a peeler, or a knife. The point is just to get them as thin as possible. And do be careful., the softeness and slipperiness of avocados makes them a little bit resistant to shaving. But be firm with them and they will behave. Drizzle with lime juice to prevent browning and move on.
Slice the tomatoes as thin as you can with a serrated knife.
Peel the cucumbers, then slice on the mandolin or with a knife.
Slice the scallions on a bias as thin as you can. This is a great practice in patience, and an excellent knife drill for yourself. How fine can you go?
Assemble all the vegetables on a platter in layers, garnish with nuts and scallions. Serve the dressing on the side.
1 medium avocado
1 2" piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, cut in half
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
fresh chili, optional, to taste
1/4 cup coconut oil
Blend the avocado, ginger, garlic and lime juice in the blender. Add the soy, honey, chili (if using) and blend until creamy. With the blender running, drizzle the oil in slowly to emulsify. If the dressing is too thick you can thin it out with water. Adjust the seasoning and voila.