“If I’ve learned anything from a fortunate life, it’s that the quickest route inside another culture is through its food.” —Nancy Harmon Jenkins
Denis and I love to travel. In his words, “It’s what we do best.” While we like the routines we follow in our daily lives at home, we crave the sense of adventure that traveling allows. For me, this adventurous spirit extends to having new food experiences as well.
I love to sample local cuisine and try foods that are new to me. Eating teaches me about my travel destination. I can learn a lot about local customs, traditions and values, (why do people eat what they do?) about local landscapes and resources (what is grown locally? how is it harvested?) and even about the history of an area (has this recipe been passed down through the generations? what makes it a favourite?)
When I think of the food we have enjoyed the most during our trips to Mexico, fresh fruit ripened in the southern sunshine springs to mind. Jicama soaked in lime juice, tequila, hot peppers and fresh prawns all bring back fond food memories. I’m lucky that Denis is able to harvest our own spot prawns minutes from our home. I think of the following recipe as a blending of two geographic regions: fruit from warmer climates in the south and seafood from the cool waters of the Pacific Northwest.
Why should you make this Southwestern Fruit Salad?
- it’s sweet
- it’s spicy
- it has a little heat from the peppers
- tequila adds a zing!
If you’re using fresh-caught prawns, they are naturally sweet and need nothing added to them. If you are using prawns or shrimp from the South Pacific, just season them by drizzling them with a little more of the tequila lime dressing.
- 1 cup cantaloupe chunks
- 1 cup honeydew melon chunks
- 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
- 1 mango peeled and cubed
- 2 oranges in sections
- 1 cup strawberries sliced
- 1/2 cup jicama julienne or finely chopped
- 3 tbsp finely minced poblano pepper or 1 tablespoon finely minced ancho chili pepper see note
- about 32 grilled prawns see below
- 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp tequila
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 bunch cilantro washed and ends trimmed
- freshly ground sea salt and pepper to taste
- Combine lime juice and zest, honey and tequila in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add cilantro and process until smooth. With machine running, slowly add the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Combine all ingredients except seafood in a large salad bowl, toss with tequila lime dressing, and top with fresh grilled prawns or shrimp.
An ancho chili is a dried poblano pepper. Poblano peppers are quite mild. Ancho chilis have much more heat.