Key West Backyard “Cut Up” Salad

©2019 All rights reserved by Norman Van Aken

I first learned of this salad like creation from a woman born and raised in Key West by the name of Sheila Sands-Davenport. We were at a party at her home having dinner when talk turned to true ‘conch’ cooking. ‘Conchs’ are what people born in Key West are known as. Our son, Justin and granddaughter, Audrey are ‘conchs’ too. This is the ultimate in ‘locavore’ eating as you basically create a communal pot luck dish from what almost entirely was picked in the residents backyards in Key West.

1 ½ cups avocado, peeled and cut into medium chunks, chilled
1 ½ cups papaya peeled and cut into medium chunks, chilled
1 ½ cups ripe mango, peeled, pitted and cut into medium chunks, chilled
1 ½ cups ripe heirloom tomatoes, cored, sliced into wedges and lightly salted

Feel free to add our substitute the fruits as nature avails them!

For the Dressing:
½ cup canola oil
3 tablespoons hazelnut oil
¼ cup sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup fresh mint or basil leaves, stemmed and torn

To Garnish:
¼ cup slivered toasted almonds
Bibb lettuce leaves, as needed
Kosher Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Place the avocado and papaya in the same mixing bowl next to each other but don’t mix until just before serving. Keep cold.

Lay the lettuces out on plates as needed.

Mix the salad dressing ingredients and pour them on the fruits as needed

Add half the almonds. Mix delicately. Season to taste.

Scoop the fruits onto the lettuces. Garnish with the remaining almonds. Serve.



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