March 08, 2007

Funny Little Salad

I have always liked salads that had a little more to them than the standard lettuces, and I'm particuarly amused by salads that have no leafy greens whatsoever. Greek salad, to me, is a hoot. You see, salad when I was growing up was such a leafy affair, that other kinds of salad, fancy kinds of salad, would have to have a disclaimer in order to qualify for the genre. Spinach salad, fruit salad, bean salad...these were all nifty, but decidedly off the radar as simply salad.

This particular salad is a peculiar take-off on the Waldorf (which my brother once called "Uppity Coleslaw"). In his honour, I think I shall call this Uppity Salad, and just leave it at that. Its antecedents lie in the Australian Women's Weekly Fruits & Vegetables Cookbook, but I've messed it about somewhat. It came about when I realized that I had most of the ingredients to make it, several of which were in dire need of using.

One of the glorious thing about salads, aside from the fact that you can vary them so much, is that you can really tinker about with the proportions of each item, as you see fit, with minimal ramifications. This is more or less what is needed:

Uppity Salad

2 stalks of celery, somewhat-finely diced
4 slices of bacon, fried crisp, drained and crumbled
1 banana, sliced or diced (sliced looks prettier, but I was on a roll with the dicing)
1 apple, somewhat-finely diced
2 - 3 tablespoons finely minced onion or sliced green onions
1 handful of pecans or walnuts, toasted if possible
1 lime - juice and zest
1/4 cup plain yoghurt, full fat (Mediterranean style is good here)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Mix the lime juice and zest with the yoghurt and mayonnaise and blend thoroughly. Toss in the rest of the ingredients, adding the bacon last. garnish with cilantro, if you like. Stir gently to coat. For a truly uppity presentation, serve it in a cocktail glass, but a lettuce leaf or obligingly shaped piece of kale will suffice to lift and separate it from other items on a plate.

Serves 2 generously.

It doesn't keep terribly well, as the banana goes a bit soft the next day, so do eat it all at once. In fact, it's hard to resist licking the bowl. It may seem like an odd combination, but the saltiness of the bacon, the soft sweetness of the banana, the two distinctly different crunches of celery and walnut and the zing of lime actually sing a pretty good harmony.


Madhulika said...

Looks delicious!! I have never heard of combining yogurt and lemon or lime juice. The sourness of the yogurt kept at room temp for a few hours ought to do, but it sounds interesting. May be I will give it a try.

Dawna said...

Hi Madhulika - thanks for stopping by. The lime juice gives more than sourness to the yoghurt, although I used such a creamy yoghurt that it wasn't particularly sour on its own. It also brings a wonderful, tropical flavour to the party that works splendidly with the banana and the apple, and is far more harmonious in reality than it seems on paper.