Perfect for Summer
by Dana Jacobi
for The American Institute for Cancer Research
As summer arrives, this is the
perfect time to enjoy papaya. If you are already acquainted with
it, perhaps one pleasant result of visiting a tropical locale,
let me inspire you to serve it more often, including in savory
dishes, like this chicken salad. Happily, whether papaya is a
new experience or you already like it, eating it is easy since
it is often one of the cut-up fruits most supermarkets now sell.
For me, the flesh of a papaya
looks like that of a melon or mango lit with the intense glow
of a sunset. (Although sometimes actually called papaya melon,
they are not related.) Far softer than any melon, most of the
papayas we get taste just mildly sweet. At first, I found this
strange, since my first papaya experiences were the sugary drink
sold at sidewalk stands in New York City. Now, though, I prefer
eating the actual fruit.
Even when you buy papayas whole,
they do not taste like the tree-ripened ones you might have had
in the tropics. Still, they have a unique melt-in-your-mouth
quality and musky, lightly sweet flavor that goes particularly
well with chicken or shrimp in main-course dishes. Papaya is
good with tomatoes in salsa and with other tropical fruits or
melons, too. The flesh of a papaya can be yellow, pinkish orange,
salmon red or deep rose and its skin may be green, yellow, orange
or rose, depending on the type of papaya and how ripe it is.
Whatever the color, and no matter if it comes looking like a
large avocado the size of a football, the flesh of commercially-grown
papayas tastes fairly similar and slices or dices easily.
Someone once had me taste the
shiny, caviar-like black seeds of a papaya. If you like their
uniquely peppery flavor as much as I do, sprinkle a few of them
over this succulent salad as an intriguing garnish.
You can chop everything but
the papaya ahead, then assemble this salad that can conveniently
use up any roasted or grilled chicken leftover from a previous
Papaya, Red Pepper and Pecan
Salad with Chicken -
Makes 4 servings.
(adapted from the New American Plate Cookbook)
8 cups torn romaine lettuce
2 medium, ripe papaya, peeled, halved, seeded and cubed
1 large red bell pepper, halved, seeded and sliced into 1/4-inch
2 scallions, white part only
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 Tbsp. fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 lb. cooked boneless chicken, diced
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted*
In a large salad bowl, combine
the lettuce, papaya, bell pepper and scallions. In a measuring
cup or small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, broth, honey,
garlic and mustard. Slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream
and whisk the dressing until it is well blended. Season to taste
with salt and pepper.
Pour the dressing over the salad,
add the chicken and toss until well combined. Top with the pecans
*To toast the pecans, put them
in a small skillet over medium-high heat and stir frequently
for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly browned. Immediately transfer
the nuts to a small dish and cool.
Per serving: 362 calories, 15
g. total fat (2 g. saturated fat), 29 g. carbohydrate, 30 g.
protein, 7 g. dietary fiber, 115 mg. sodium.
Something Different is written
by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor
to AICRs New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy
Weight and a Healthy Life.
The American Institute for Cancer
Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on
the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management
to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates
the public about the results. It has contributed more than $96
million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals
and research centers across the country. AICR has published two
landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the
field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR
also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions
of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk.
Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in
brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is part of the global
network of charities that are dedicated to the prevention of
cancer. The WCRF global network is led and unified by WCRF International,
a membership association which operates as the umbrella organization
for the network .The other charities in the WCRF network are
World Cancer Research Fund in the UK (www.wcrf-uk.org); Wereld
Kanker Onderzoek Fonds in the Netherlands (www.wcrf-nl.org);
World Cancer Research Fund Hong Kong (www.wcrf-hk.org); and Fonds
Mondial de Recherche contre le Cancer in France (www.fmrc.fr).
Article Source: Aicr.org
Article Posted: November 7, 2005