Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mango Salad with Spicy Cashews

I was invited to a friend's house for lunch yesterday. She was preparing an Oriental Shrimp Salad and my job was to come up with a side dish that would complement the main dish. My first thought was something with pineapple or mango - I love those fruits paired with Asian-flavored dishes. Because I wanted a side dish rather than a dessert, I knew some sort of greenery was necessary. The sweet-spicy cashews add a special touch and also tie in nicely with the Asian meal.

As a bonus, not only is this salad colorful and bursting with all sorts of interesting flavors (sweet! juicy! spicy! peppery!) - it takes all of 4 1/2 minutes to prepare. It's so good (and easy to make) that I just made a second batch to enjoy here at home today. Please feel free to mess with the proportions (more mango/less arugula) or make up another dressing (my Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette would be superb with this).

Mango Salad with Spicy Cashews
Serves 2 - 3 as a side dish

1/2 cup unsalted cashews
1 tsp. olive oil (or less)
sprinkling of kosher salt
sprinkling of chipotle powder (or cayenne)
drizzle of honey

Several large handfuls of arugula
1 lime
a little more olive oil
1 ripe mango, peeled and diced

This is very easy! I swear to you!

Step 1: Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the smallest little drizzle of olive oil (I didn't measure but I'm guessing it's 1 teaspoon or less). When the oil's warm, pour in the cashews. Stir to coat. Sprinkle the nuts with the salt and chipotle powder or cayenne pepper. Stir to coat. Drizzle with honey. Stir to coat and remove from heat. The nuts can be used warm on the salad, or prepared hours ahead and used cold.

Step 2: When you're ready to eat, place the arugula in a serving bowl. Drizzle lightly with a little more olive oil and a squeeze or two of lime juice (or any dressing you like). Top the greens with the chopped mango and the spiced cashews and a little sprinkle of salt and serve.

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