Citrus Ginger Vinaigrette with Ataulfo Mango

Makes 1 cup

Have you ever heard of a salad bar potluck?

A colleague introduced this concept to me a few weeks back.  We are working together on a pilot project to build a vegetable garden on our downtown office’s seventh floor balcony. The idea behind the garden is to create an interactive outdoor space to enjoy at work. One where employees can learn about small space/container gardening, and of course to enjoy the bounty it produces. Assuming we produce a bounty of veggies, and I remain confident this will be the case.

To launch the garden project we recently held a salad bar potluck, which is just like a regular potluck in that everyone attending brings something to share. The catch is that each attendee brings a salad ingredient instead of a prepared dish. This is not only easier than having to think of something to make, and find the time to make it, but the result is a delicious array of healthy ingredients from which everyone can build their own salad for lunch. The concept does require some coordination, in that you need to make sure you have staples ingredients to cover three main categories: salad base; additions; and dressing (see note and chart below). For my personal contribution, I chose to bring the dressing that is the feature of today’s post.

My initial idea for the dressing was to make some sort of lime-ginger vinaigrette. I am often drawn to this combination in the late winter months, as it lends a bright flavour punch to a winter salad, when the novelty of winter vegetables is beginning to wear thin. As I was preparing it, however, I noticed we had some Ataulfo mangos in our fruit bowl and thought the mango could be a great addition.  These mangos are of Mexican origin, bright yellow in colour, and slightly smaller than most other mango varieties. Their flesh is also silky-smooth, not fibrous as can be the case with some other mango varieties. This quality of texture creates a rich, creamy dressing, and the mangos’ incredibly sweet flavour balances the tartness of the citrus juice.

This dressing is great on greens with a side of avocado. That said, I imagine it would also be excellent drizzled on grilled fish, chicken or pork – especially if any of the aforementioned have been flavoured with a bit of chili pepper heat. Finally, recognizing that we unfortunately can’t grow Ataulfo mangos in Canada, for a more local spin on this recipe I think some Okanagan (Niagara for my Ontario friends) nectarines or peaches could work well once in season. The texture might not be quite as buttery smooth, but tossed with some fresh local greens and berries it would make for a pretty fantastic summer salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 small or ½ large Ataulfo mango, peeled and chopped in rough chunks
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1-2 tsp honey (optional/if needed)

Method

Place all ingredients, except for the oil and honey, in a blender, or tall measuring cup if using an immersion blender. Blend until you have a juicy pulp, and there are no longer large chunks of mango.

Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and continue to blend. You will end up with a creamy yellow, nicely emulsified dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Depending on your personal preference, and the sweetness of your mangos, add some honey to balance.

Serve immediately, or store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

NOTE: Salad Bar Potluck – Getting Started

If you’re interested in hosting a salad bar potluck, below are some ideas to help people decide what to bring. The possibilities are endless, and with the plethora of ingredients to choose from, a salad bar potluck is not only a healthy, interactive workplace event, it may just provide inspiration for new ingredients, boosting the creativity in your own salad making at home.

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