Monday, November 19, 2012

Mango and Shallot Thanksgiving Salad

   When I was a kid, there was only one sort of salad served by my Nana (mom's mom) at Thanksgiving Dinner. It was an avocado and grapefruit salad, and no matter what, that was always going to be the first thing served. My Nonna (dad's mom) served a small bowl of crystal clear brodo, a perfect chicken broth that all of the grease had been carefully strained out of. It looked so simple and plain but the flavor was unforgettable. She achieved that flavor with plentiful use of chicken feet.

  For years there was no other Thanksgiving starter known in my family but brodo or grapefruit and avocado. When the Grammas were gone and my mom took over, we moved onward but not necessarily upward to canned fruit cocktail with an unripe banana chunked into it. If I haven't mentioned it before, Fran hates to cook. Occasionally she'd change things up with those jarred shrimp cocktails. Sort of like this:

   She'd go around the table and pop the top for everyone with a church key. When we moved up to Sonoma full time a few years ago, the holiday cooking tasks settled on me. After all I was the one in the family who actually liked to cook. Of course I was then dealing with the one big problem of most family Thanksgivings: The menu never changes. It cannot. Those are the rules, so even if your family has only been here a few years, or a few centuries, when it comes to the Thanksgiving menu, it's as though they were there at that very first Thanksgiving and "dammit that's was what they served! "

   After a few Thanksgivings of canned fruit cocktail and a "please shoot me" attitude, I decided to take things into my own hands and make my own menu. Since most of the family likes salad, I decided to serve a salad but not the kind of salad they were used to getting. I've used pears and walnuts, persimmons and almonds, pomegranate pips and arugula in various combos, all with good results. But I finally came up with a salad that allows me to put a bit of Indian flavor in the Thanksgiving table.

Caramelized Mango and Shallot Salad

Here's What You Need:

2 large mangoes cut into bite sized cubes or a bag of frozen and defrosted mango
3 large shallots thinly sliced
1 Tbs of brown mustard seeds
Mixed salad greens
2 Tbs of Mango Balsamic Vinegar (I use Mango White Balsamic from Sonoma Harvest )
4 Tbs of Arbequina olive oil. (I used California Olive Ranch)
1/4 cup of finely chopped pistachios
salt to taste
1 dried red chili
2 Tbs olive oil for sauteeing

Here's what to do:

Heat 2 Tbs of olive oil in a skillet.
When the oil is hot add in the mustard seeds.
When they start to pop,  toss in the shallots and the dried red chili.

Saute the shallots until they start to brown and  caramelize.
Add in the cubed mango.

Stir them around and cook them down until they soften and darken a bit.
Take the mixture off the stove put it into a bowl and set it aside.

In a separate bowl mix together 2 tbs of mango balsamic vinegar and 4 tbs of Arbequina olive oil.

Mix it together well.
When it's all blended together, add salt to taste.
Mix the oil and vinegar into the washed and dried salad greens.
Place a portion of salad greens on every plate.
Place a pportion of the mango shallot mustard seed mixture on top of the dressed greens.
Sprinkle a dash of finely chopped pistachio over each serving.

   There it is, a simple easy to fix salad. Is it traditional? By my familys' rules, a big N.O. Is it delicious? Yes. Sweet and spicy it goes great with most everything one might find on the Turkey Day table.

  I'm not cooking my usual Thanksgiving Day feast this Thursday as we'll be eating with Fran over at rehab, but come Saturday night it's a friend's Thanksgiving at our house and I'm itching to get back in to the kitchen again. Coming up next, some old and new holiday favorites for celebrating. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori


  1. Love how you took this on your own and made it simply lovely!

  2. Your recipe surprised me!!! and tempted me to go for this recipe.

  3. I think one the the finest recipe ever I am seeing. Nobody might have thought about this salad. Superb!!!

  4. Absolutely unique and delicious recipe.



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