Monday, 31 August 2015

Baby Greens with Flank Steak, Papaya, Blue Cheese and Papaya Seed Dressing

While making fruit salad for breakfast I was inspired to use the papaya seeds in the remaining half papaya to make a salad dressing. Papaya seeds have a slightly peppery bite to them, which works well in a salad dressing. I had a very juicy lime, which I used as part of the acid in the dressing.

Of course I also used the papaya, and added the last piece of blue cheese as a contrast to the sweetness of the papaya. I had some smoked flank steak, courtesy of my husband, and cut that on the bias into thin slices to add to the salad, turning the salad into a light dinner.

For the papaya seed dressing, roughly chop:

2 green onions
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon fresh parsley

Remove and set aside 2 tablespoons papaya seeds.

Place the green onion, garlic and parsley into the blender, along with:

2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

Blend until everything is finely chopped.

Add in:

2 tablespoons papaya seeds
1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey

Blend until you have a creamy dressing.

Taste and adjust acidity and sweetness by adding more lime juice, honey or oil as needed.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Keep refrigerated until needed.

Thinly slice the half papaya.

Thinly slice the flank steak on the bias; I used just under half a pound.

Crumble the blue cheese.

Assemble the salad.  I used washed mixed baby greens, tossed with the papaya seed dressing.

Top with the sliced papaya and flank steak, and crumble the blue cheese around the plate.

Drizzle a bit of extra dressing over.

  • The papaya seeds get crushed by the blender, and look like ground black peppercorns. This also releases the peppery flavour.
  • The seeds can also be eaten whole, rinse them to remove any fruit that is attached to them.
  • Papaya seeds can be dried after rinsing them, and then used as a substitute for black pepper. Crush them using a mortar and pestle, or in a spice grinder, and use them when you would use pepper in a recipe.
  • The seeds can be added to smoothies, along with the papaya, and other fruits. Extra seeds can be stored in the freezer.
  • The papaya seed dressing can be made 2 to 3 days ahead, and kept in a well sealed container in the fridge. Leftover dressing can also be used as a marinade; papaya seeds contain papain, which is  a natural tenderizer, but they also add flavour to the meat.
  • Add the fruit of the papaya to chicken or shrimp salad; dice it and mix with minced cilantro, minced red onion, garlic and lime juice to make a quick salsa to serve with grilled fish; remove the seeds and fill the papaya with crab salad; top your favourite cheesecake with thinly sliced papaya.
  • I used smoked flank steak, at room temperature. Marinated and grilled flank steak can be temperature, cold or hot. Use some of the papaya seed dressing to marinade the steak if you like.
  • Other meats can be used instead of flank steak...chicken breast, shrimp or scallops, pork tenderloin, grilled sausage.
  • Add some warm crusty bread to round out the meal. This salad is great for a lunch or light dinner; it made enough for two people.

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