I refused to eat avocados for a long time. Which now seems just weird and wrong. But when I was younger, the fact that they were green and mushy perked up all my childhood taste bud fears.
But then, some creamy avocado dip landed in my mouth one day and everything changed. And I realized avocado’s are Mother Nature’s way of telling you to just go ahead and treat yourself.
Which is what I want you to do this weekend. With this Thai-inspired cucumber and papaya salad, smothered in a very special Avocado Sesame Caesar Dressing inspired by Gaby Dalkin‘s book, Absolutely Avocados.
To make the salad, simply cut half of an English cucumber into thin matchsticks and set them aside. Then gently pick a handful of basil leaves, layer them on top of each other and roll them up into a little cigar. Then use a sharp knife to cut into ribbons (aka, chifonade) and set them aside. Then, dice up a little piece of jalapeno or fresno pepper and set them aside. Then buy a papaya.
As for the dressing, take half of a ripe avocado and use a fork to scoop it into a mixing bowl. Add the juice and zest from one lemon and 2 tablespoons of oil — I prefer grape seed or sunflower or even avocado. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of white sesame seeds. And then, using that same fork, mix and mush and whisk until smooth and combined. This makes about 1/2 cup of dressing
To put it all together, mix the cucumber matchsticks and some of the dressing in a small bowl. It’s important to use your hands here so you can lick your fingers once it is all mixed together. Then add the basil and the peppers. And place the whole shebang on top of that juicy papaya, with the extra dressing on the side. Then go ahead and treat yourself. Mother Nature would want you to.
And grab a copy of Gaby Dalkin‘s book, which uses these green fruits in everything from guacamole to brownies. It’s pure avocado inspiration.
Happy weekend. Happy Papaya Salad.