I came across this recipe, years ago while hosting a Salad Brunch for the new ladies in our neighborhood. Each women was asked to bring a favorite salad while I provided a non alcoholic sparkling punch and mimosas as our liquid libations. I served Lemon Bars for dessert, accompanied by coffee and a varieties of hot and cold teas to round out the meal.
As the years have past, I can’t seem to remember all the details from the party. I do however, remember this particular salad and I’m pretty sure the woman who brought it was named Laurie. Unfortunately, I can’t promise I have her name right!
I loved the flavor combinations of this delicious salad and I certainly wasn’t willing to miss the opportunity to have recipe. I begged her for the recipe on the spot, writing feverishly what she remembered on a napkin. This fresh and tasty salad has graced many luncheon tables, holiday and family meals since that time.
I’ve altered the recipe somewhat but the flavors remain as I remember. The creamy texture of the avocado is balanced perfectly by the sweet pungent flavor of the papaya. The peppery bite from the papaya seeds and crispness of the endive make every mouthful a delight. The salad is also complimented by the warm rich flavor of toasted macadamia nuts!
Recipe Serves 4
1 ripe Hawaiian papaya or 2 Brazilian papaya (about 1 pound)
2 ripe Haas avocados
2 tablespoons chopped green onion, green part only
2 cups sliced endive
1/2 cup toasted crushed macadamia nuts
Papaya Seed Dressing
2 tablespoons fresh papaya seeds
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1/4 teaspoon dry yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons chopped Maui onion
- cut papaya in half and remove seeds, reserve 2 tablespoons seeds
- in a food processor or blender, combine all dressing ingredients and papaya seeds, process on high until seeds resemble cracked black pepper
- peel papaya and cut flesh into cubes. Peel avocado and cut into cubes. Slice endive crosswise removing root end, discard end. Chop green onions.
- add 1/4 cup dressing and toss ingredients together in a large bowl. Serve remaining dressing on the side
- toast macadamia nuts for a few seconds in a dry heavy bottom skillet, watch closely so not to burn. Place toasted nuts in a zip lock bag and lightly pound with a mallet until coarse. Garnish salad with nuts, serve.
A few special notes about the recipe:
I’ve tried adjusting the amount of papaya seeds and find that using more than 2 tablespoons adds a bitter taste to the salad, less than 2 tablespoons and the delightful peppery flavors are lost.
Also, the delicate nature of the ingredients makes this dish one that needs prepared right before serving. If you plan to take the recipe to an outing be sure to separate all the ingredients into plastic containers and toss together right before the meal.