Shaved Papaya Salad
Serves 4-6 (depending on the size of your papaya and fennel bulbs)
I learned this recipe at a Bachelorette party at The Dirty Apron in Vancouver. Their cooking classes are a great idea for celebrations, of if you're just looking for a way to expand your cooking skills. The recipes were amazing, it was tons of fun, and the chefs are super-knowledgable. All around a great experience - I'd love to go back! I paired the salad with a fish dish that I modified from a recipe we also learned in the class (equally as good, and one of my favourite fish recipes so far. I'll do another post with the recipe that includes the amazing thai sauce we made).
This salad is lighter on greens than what I usually go for, but it's good to mix it up once in a while, and the flavour combinations work really well. It looks super fancy, but it's easy to make - a mandolin or simple slicer is a must for this recipe to get the thinly shaved slices of fennel, onion and papaya that make the dish come together. I have a simple slicer and I can't get over how much I love it - I use it in a lot of my recipes!
- Mandolin or simple slicer
- Knife (1 large, 1 small)
- Salad bowl and servers
- Juicer or reamer
- measuring spoons
- 1 large ripe papaya
- 1 fennel (anise) head
- 1/4 red onion
- juice of 1/2 -1 lime
- Italian parsley - 4-5 sprigs, chopped
- Thai basil - 8-10 leaves, chiffonade
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Peel the papaya. Cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Then cut the papaya into quarters.
- Wash the fennel and cut the very bottom part off the bulb with your large knife.
- Cut the red onion into quarters.
- Using a mandolin or simple slicer, slice the papaya, fennel, and red onion very thinly. Place into a large salad bowl for serving.
- Pour the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper over the ingredients in the salad bowl. Toss.
- Chiffonade the basil leaves and chop the parsley.
- Garnish salad with basil and parsley before serving.
Nut-Crusted Baked Fish (bonus recipe!):
I'm serving my salad with a nut-crusted baked fish (also adapted from a Dirty Apron class). It's really easy to make, and you can add different herbs and spices to the crust to get the flavour you like. This crust makes enough for about four 4oz peices of fish. I used halibut.
- 1/2 cup raw cashews or macadamia nuts
- 1/4 cup cornmeal (or breadcrumbs)
- 2 Tbsp butter, softened.
- Salt and pepper or other herbs to taste.
- Preheat the oven to 450F.
- Blend all the ingredients together using a food processor or hand blender, until the consistency is similar to coarse cornmeal. I used my manual food processor and it worked great!
- Put fish on a baking sheet and spread the nut crust over top of each fish filet (just on the top - will form a thick layer)
- Bake the fish until it's cooked through (8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish)
Note: don't bake the fish from frozen - if you have frozen fish make sure you thaw it before making this recipe. Otherwise the fish will take too long to cook through and the crust will burn.
*Just the salad, based on 6 servings with 1/2 tsp salt in the dressing - I often skip the salt as I find it's not really necessary. This'll save you most of the sodium in the recipe.
- More than your daily dose of Vitamin C
- The light dressing made with just olive oil and lime juice bumps up the vitamin C and allows you to really taste the flavours in the salad. Olive oil is also full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats
- No added sugars - the sugar is just what's in the papaya - sugar in fruit doesn't make it bad to consume - it's always important to consider the package that you're getting your sugars with - when they come in fruit form they're also coming with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The sugars in fruit make it so tasty, so don't discount it! Added sugars on the other hand don't come with any of the nutritional benefits that fruit has, and add calories without adding nutrients (yes, even honey, raw sugar, agave etc.).