Merlyn Ruddell, a friend of Food contributing writer David Hagedorn, adds tarragon blossoms from her garden to this salad. If you can find them, add them by all means. Agave nectar, or syrup, is a fructose. The juices of the agave plant are perhaps better known for making tequila. If you can't find agave nectar, use honey. Extra dressing will keep for a week in the refrigerator and is good for a quick marinade for fish, chicken or vegetables.
Merlyn Ruddell used only organic and natural ingredients for this meal, so all ingredients used in this recipe are organic unless otherwise specified. But you needn't be so strict. The recipe also will work if you substitute regular ingredients for some or all of the organic and natural products.
*Note: Agave nectar is available at Wegmans and at health-food stores, such as Bethesda Co-op, My Organic Market, Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op and Yes! Organic Market.
- 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 4 ounces (1 cup) walnuts, halves and pieces
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for the dressing
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar (may substitute honey)
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 cups mixed salad greens
- 2 mangoes, peeled, pitted and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
- Flesh of 1 avocado, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
In a small, nonstick pan over high heat, melt the butter. Add the walnuts, tossing to coat, for about 30 seconds. Add the honey, maple syrup and salt and cook until the nuts are golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to a plate and break apart any walnuts that are sticking together.
In a small bowl, add the vinegars, agave nectar, oil, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste and whisk until blended.
In a large salad bowl, combine the mixed greens, mangoes, avocado and walnuts and coat well with the dressing. Serve immediately.
Adapted by David Hagedorn with guidance from Merlyn Ruddell of Kauai, Hawaii, who formerly owned a natural foods restaurant.
Tested by Yuki Noguchi.
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