Sunday, 9 June 2013

Let's Do The Twist!

Insalata di Rucola & Peperone Rosso con Condimento allo Mango & Curry
Arugula & Red Pointed Pepper Salad with Curry Mango Dressing

Sunday afternoon... and no sun. Typical. But I had already bought fresh arugula to make a salad- and the weather was suddenly more suited to soup again overnight... Frankfurt!!! Well, I decided I had to create my own sunshine and have my salad all the same... and then I came up with this idea!

I suppose this is just a "salad bouquet" on acid really ;-) a fun take on the classic little "bunch" of salad, served up as a side with infinitely fussier dishes than I tend to make. I just wanted to have some fun and though initially of simply filling the arugula into the pointy pepper and having done with. But that would have been too boring!

The method here is as tricky to do as it is simple in appearance... but let's not exaggerate! You WILL need to be cool, calm and collected though-like me! As otherwise, this thing will simply fall apart before your very eyes. The first thing you need to do is to cut the top off the pepper and scoop out the seeds. Once you have done that, take a small, sharp knife and start cutting around the pepper in a spiral, twisting gently as you go and making sure to keep close to your cutting board, so that the pepper lays down and does not hang under its own weight, as it may well snap. Once you have got to the second twist of the spiral, you will realize how fragile it becomes! Nevertheless- be patient and it will work! 

Now, take the pointed end of the pepper in your hand, and gently start to twist and "reel-in" the rest of the pepper, back into shape. Wind it a little tighter than the original size it was- that will make it easier to handle. And once you have it "back together again), you can carefully thread a bunch of arugula through the middle of it and then lay this out on your dish. No it isn't easy- but yes it is fun! So do it all the same!!!

What made this actually TASTE good, rather than just looking pretty though, was the dressing- which turned out to be pretty amazing! It was a light "mayonnaise" of sorts, I guess... and I made it like this. I cut a couple of slices from a ripe mango and puréed them in my mixer- the quantity I had for this serving was 2 tablespoons of mango purée. To this I added a half teaspoon of both turmeric and curry powder, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of yogurt and a pinch of salt and pepper. I whizzed this in turn through my mixer and slowly drizzled in some olive oil- just a couple of tablespoons, and also just a hint of sesame oil... the combination was pretty terrific! Together with the added oil, the sweet fruit purée, the sour lemon and the mildly spicy curry became transformed into a lovely, smooth emulsion... delicious!

As you can see, I added a few yellow cherry tomatoes which I sprinkled lightly with dried oregano and then gave everything a generous coat of dressing- and voila! One salad serving your guests won't forget in a hurry- and not only because of appearances... because it tastes every bit as good as it looks! Enjoy!

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