Pineapple, Greens & Tofu with Roasted Chile-Coconut Dressing
Serves 4, 10 minutes prep time; 10 minutes stove time; 5 minutes assembly time.
ROASTED CHILE-COCONUT DRESSING
- 1/2 cup expeller pressed canola oil
- 4 generous teaspoons coarsely ground Aleppo chile or other flavorful medium to hot ground chile
- 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/3 cups coconut milk or to taste
- 2-2.5 tablespoons of Asian fish sauce
- 4 tablespoons of sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- Juice of 1/2 large lime
- 3 large handfuls of mixed tart greens such as the tender yellow hearts of escarole, arugula, frisee, curly endive, mizuna, watercress, purslane, lamb's ear and baby spinach
- 8-10 leaves of napa cabbage, cut crosswise into thin slivers
- 4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 1.5 cup bite-sized pieces of fresh pineapple, or canned in pineapple juice and drained
- 1/2 cup roasted, salted, and broken cashews or peanuts
- 1.5-2 cups diced firm tofu or cooked and diced tempeh, chicken or seafood
- 1/2 lightly packed cup fresh mint, cilantro or basil leaves, torn
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Juice of 1-1.5 large limes
- Make the dressing: In a 12-inch straight-sided saute pan, combine oil, chile and garlic. Heat slowly over medium heat so the flavors will open up but nothing will burn, about 2 minutes. Stir with a wooden spatula until the garlic begins to sizzle but do not let it brown.
- Quickly add the coconut milk, raise the heat to medium-high and boil the coconut milk for 30 seconds or until it's a deep red-gold. Stir in 2 tablespoons of fish sauce or more to taste then mix in the sugar and salt and boil for 30 seconds or until the dressing is thickened with glossy bubbles and is the color of light caramel.
- Immediately scrape the dressing into a bowl to stop the cooking, add the juice of half a lime, rinse and dry the pan and keep it handy for reheating the dressing.
- Make the salad: Toss the greens and cabbage and divide them among 4 dinner plates. Divide the scallions, pineaple, cashews, tofu and mint among the plates, scattering them over the greens. Season salads with salt and pepper to taste.
- Warm the dressing in the pan to a bubble then stir in the juice of 1/2 lime. Drizzle the warm dressing over each serving. Squeeze generous amounts of lime juice over the salad and serve.
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