Mojito Salad In Celebration of Summer
What says summer better than fresh, brightly coloured fruit and cold beverages? The answer is mojito anything. In Canada, the answer is also construction season: the kitchen at my current dwelling is being renovated so the BBQ and diningroom table have become the stand-ins (I’m not complaining).
I got this one from an old magazine clipping found in the recipe cupboard of my late mother (yes, a whole cupboard of recipes: what a culinary upbringing I had!). The clipping lacks any sort of titular markings or publication details save that it came from someone by the name of Madhu Puri (I’ll let you do the Google search on that one), though I suspect it may be from what I thought was the defunct Gourmet Magazine of, perhaps, a ten year vintage.
It reads “Three fruits + Three veggies = One mojito salad to satisfy the tanned and the toned.” I’d like to change that to “Three fruits and veggies + Rum = One mojito salad to satisfy the booze-soaked and bedraggled.”
I was initially attracted to this salad because it’s named after a favourite drink of mine. And, mojito anything always seems to turn out splendidly: I’ve had mojito cupcakes to die for (and that actually tasted like mojitos) and, well, I drink mojitos whenever I’m in an establishment that I expect can handle making them correctly. They are the perfect summer supplement for a cool head on a hot day.
Before I continue, this salad tastes more like mojitos than you would expect. Thank goodness! It will be a repeat offender.
The actual recipe calls for jicama but Squid was too inept to track one down. It also calls for honey, of which I forgot to buy, and light rum, the type of which I neglected to specify to my rum runner. Through preparation ineptitude I made the recipe my own and I don’t think it suffered for the changes. The result was achieved as follows:
1/4 to 1/2 large Seedless Watermelon, the flesh cut into aprx. 2-3 cm cubes.
1/2 Red Onion, sliced thinly and then chopped into strips.
3 to 5 Limes, juiced, one or two slices saved for garnish.
1 English Cucumber, (as if there is any other kind) thickly sliced.
1/2 to 1 punnet fresh Strawberries, hewn, halved (or quartered depending on their size).
1 hndfull fresh Mint Leaves, thinly sliced.
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
3 to ∞ tbsp. Dark Rum, I used Havan Club’s Añejo 7 Años rum.
Sugar to taste, always.
Optional INGREDIENTS (I.E. that we forgot or couldn’t find):
1/3 cup Honey
1 medium sized Jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks.
Throw your sliced and diced red onion into a big salad bowl: something with a convex curvature so that the onion adequately heaps at the bottom. Add the juice of one lime and mix well. Let stand for as long as it takes you to prepare everything else.
In the meanwhile, slice your cucumber, cube your watermelon, (matchstick your jicama), thinly slice your mint, and mix a drink for your troubles. Squid made iced watermelon tea and rum cocktails with watermelon ice cubes to go with our mojito salad (recipe soon to come if it’s not already here). Cut a thin slice of lime, from one of the limes you are to subsequently juice, for garnish if you so choose. For garnish on the salad, not your cocktail!
Throw that all in your salad bowl on top of the onion in lime juice without mixing it.
For the dressing, combine vegetable oil, juice of two limes (or three or four if you like), salt, rum, a little coarsely ground pepper, and sugar (or honey) and whisk vigorously. Remember to sweeten to taste but don’t go to far; you need to maintain the zip of the lime. The watermelon and strawberries should be sweet enough to offset a fairly zippy dressing.
Pour the dressing over your salad just before serving and add two thirds of the mint. Toss well and sprinkle the remainder of the mint over the salad and garnish with a twist of lime. You can also sprinkle a touch of fresh sliced mint over each serving if you plan to pre-serve the salad to your guests.
Enjoy, preferably in the sunshine, shirtless. Ladies, bikinied if you must.
* Thanks to Simon, the rum runner, for taking some nice pictures. I’m not sure if we used my pic, his pic, or Squid’s pic.