As the weather starts to change we notice that we are wanting lighter meals, and I start making salads more often. I had half a papaya, some macadamia nuts and spinach to use...and I am still working on using that huge container of honey I bought, which is starting to crystallize.
The greens in my salad were a mixture of baby spinach and romaine hearts, and I made a poppyseed dressing, using more of the honey and some rice wine vinegar.
I made these nuts a couple of weeks ago, and we loved them, so I made them again. Quick and easy, all in one pan, and they have the sweet and salty contrast. I have some spiced salt, that is seasoned with cayenne pepper and smoked paprika, so it added a kick of heat and beautiful red colour to the nuts.
This salad was full of colour, contrasting tastes and textures...creamy dressing, crunchy greens, soft and sweet papaya, and nuts that added crunch, sweetness, saltiness and spice!
Start off with the nuts. Prepare a piece of foil for the nuts to cool on by lightly greasing it with some olive oil. Set aside until needed.
In a heavy bottomed nonstick pan, heat:
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon olive oil
When the honey and oil are hot add:
2/3 cup raw macadamia nuts
Continue to cook over a medium heat, stirring often, until the nuts are well coated and starting to toast, and the honey and oil are thick and bubbling.
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt (mine was seasoned with cayenne pepper and smoked paprika)
Immediately scrape the hot nuts and caramel onto the prepared foil and leave to cool completely.
To make the poppyseed dressing, combine the following with a hand blender in a large measuring jug:
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced shallot
Add and blend in:
1/4 cup olive oil
Then slowly, while continuing to blend, add:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Taste and adjust seasoning.
1 tablespoon poppyseeds
To finish off the salad, place the washed greens in a large bowl, and gently toss with the dressing. Add a little at a time, you only need enough to coat the greens; save the rest for another salad.
I used a combination of baby spinach and romaine hearts.
1/2 papaya, peeled, seeded and chopped
Gently mix it with the dressing and greens.
To plate the salad, mound the greens in the centre of each plate, adding the papaya and salted honey macadamia nuts around the outside. I cooked some smoked pork tenderloin to round out the meal.
- As with all salads, use your favourite greens, or those that you have available. I had some spinach to use, and added some romaine hearts to make sure there was enough. Some options included arugula, beet greens, radish sprouts, curly endive or a mix of different lettuces.
- Seasonal fruit is always good in a salad, it adds colour, freshness, sweetness. Try fresh berries, peaches, plums, figs, pears or grapes.
- Not everyone likes poppyseeds, but I do. They can be omitted if you are not a fan. They do add a unique flavour, as well as crunch. I like to add them to egg salad as well.
- Macadamia nuts are not something I have in the house very often, and I am sure that goes for most people. The great thing about nuts is that they are basically interchangeable, especially in a recipe like this, so go ahead and mix it up.
- Plain sea salt can be used. You can add your own smoked paprika and cayenne pepper if you want the heat, or omit it if you don't. Add as much or as little salt as you are comfortable with.
- Green or red onion can be used instead of shallot for the dressing. Fresh chives could also be used...add them at the end so that the colour and texture remain.
- You can use maple syrup instead of honey in the dressing. If you have a strong flavoured honey such as Manuka honey or thyme honey that will be a good choice as well.
- Add protein to complete the meal....I used pork tenderloin, but you can add chicken or fish.