Something Different
Week of March 13, 2006 

A St. Patrick’s Day Salad

By Dana Jacobi for the
American Institute for Cancer Research

If you think food that celebrates St. Patrick’s Day means corned beef and cabbage with boiled potatoes, it’s time to update your thinking about Irish cooking.

You may still find plenty of corned beef served with cabbage and potatoes, but you can also enjoy food that is modern and innovative. Many Irish chefs are updating traditional dishes to make them more healthful, such as soda bread made with whole-wheat rather than refined flour, and Colcannon cooked potatoes and cabbage mashed together using little new potatoes, unpeeled, and steamed rather than boiled cabbage.

Always known for its marvelously fresh and high-quality ingredients, including shellfish and dairy products such as butter and fine cheeses, Ireland now also boasts enough fine chefs to generate reams of rave reviews. Some restaurants have received the prestigious Michelin stars that denote excellence.

Some of the innovative dishes of today’s Irish cooks stay close to Irish tradition and remain simple. You don’t even need a recipe, for example, to make steamed and lightly-buttered turnips sprinkled with fresh mint, or serve salmon accompanied by sautéed scallions and chopped apple, garnished with sorrel and parsley. Tasting of spring, this dish offers lots of green, making it a suitable dish for St. Patrick’s Day.

An accompaniment to that or another entrée for St. Paddy’s Day might be the following salad, which combines four green fruits and vegetables to represent all of Ireland, and pink grapefruit to represent the Orangemen. Topped with herbed croutons made from oatmeal bread, its dressing calls for clover honey. The honey might not come from four-leaf clovers, but hopefully, this dish will bring the luck of the Irish along with good taste and nutrition.

Emerald Salad 1 slice oatmeal bread
Canola oil spray
12 Boston lettuce leaves
12 pink grapefruit sections (fresh, jarred, or canned)
12 thin avocado slices (1/2 medium avocado)
2 kiwi fruit, peeled and thinly sliced
12 finely-sliced green bell pepper rings
1/2 cup grapefruit juice
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1-2 Tbsp. honey, preferably clover
1 Tbsp. minced fresh mint leaves, or according to taste
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make croutons, coat one side of the bread with cooking spray. Sprinkle on the oregano. Bake on a rack in the center of the oven for 3 minutes, until the bread is dry and almost hard in the center. Let it sit 2 minutes. With a serrated knife, cut the bread into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside.

On each of four salad plates, make a bed using 3 lettuce leaves. Place 3 grapefruit sections and 3 avocado slices in the center. Arrange kiwi slices in an overlapping ring around them. Place the 3 pepper rings over the grapefruit and avocado.

For the dressing, whisk together in a small bowl the grapefruit and lime juice, 1 tablespoon honey and mint. Whisk in the oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Taste, and if too tart, add the remaining honey, as desired.

To serve, drizzle dressing over top of each salad. Sprinkle one-fourth of the warm croutons over each and serve.

Makes 4 servings. (6 cups salad)
Per serving: 159 calories, 6 g. total fat (less than 1 g. saturated fat), 28 g. carbohydrate, 3 g. protein, 4 g. dietary fiber, 42 mg. sodium.

"Something Different" is written for the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) by Dana Jacobi, author of The Joy of Soy and recipe creator for AICR's Stopping Cancer Before It Starts.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) offers a Nutrition Hotline online at or via phone 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, MondayFriday, at 1-800-843-8114. This free service allows you to ask questions about diet, nutrition and cancer. A registered dietitian will respond to your email or call, usually within 3 business days. AICR is the only major cancer charity focusing exclusively on how the risk of cancer is reduced by healthy food and nutrition, physical activity and weight management. The Institute’s education programs help millions of Americans lower their cancer risk. AICR also supports innovative research in cancer prevention and treatment at universities, hospitals and research centers across the U.S. Over $75 million in funding has been provided. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International. All active news articles

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