Thursday, July 30, 2015

An ambrosia salad worth eating

Remember ambrosia salad? Canned fruit cup, mini-marshmallows, maraschino cherries, sour cream ... just the idea makes me gag! So it was a little disconcerting to pop into a culinary demonstration at the show with Chef Edward Lee, of the restaurant 610 Magnolia in Louisville, KY, and hear him announce hat he was doing something "a little bit tropical, a little bit Southern ..." You guessed it! An updated ambrosia salad!

An ambrosia salad worth eating

0 comments

Remember ambrosia salad? Canned fruit cup, mini-marshmallows, maraschino cherries, sour cream ... just the idea makes me gag! So it was a little disconcerting to pop into a culinary demonstration at the show with Chef Edward Lee, of the restaurant 610 Magnolia in Louisville, KY, and hear him announce hat he was doing something "a little bit tropical, a little bit Southern ..." You guessed it! An updated ambrosia salad!

"It's not heavy. It's delicate," he insisted, calling the traditional version "pretty hideous." I stuck around, and was charmed by his presentation, which was so different from my grandmother's version as to be unidentifiable. This ambrosia salad I would eat and even make.

"It's not a bad salad. You just have to use fresh ingredients," Chef Lee said, as he prepared fresh orange and grapefruit sections, peeled and chopped a mango, cut up a jalapeno (he likes a little heat), and got his fresh (unsweetened) coconut, cardamom, almonds, coconut milk, sour cream, and white wine vinegar ready. He also uses raw ahi tuna in his ambrosia with a blue cheese dressing. The blue cheese announcement caused gasps and some groaning in the audience, but the chef urged the audience to reserve judgment. As a fan of blue cheese anything, I didn't need convincing.

(Excuse the horrible photo - lights were bad.)

A few tips from the maestro: If you can't get fresh fruit, jars are better than frozen any day. To determine a mango's freshness, smell (nice and sweet) and feel (you should just be able to press into it) matter more than color. Ninety percent of what you need in terms of knives in your kitchen can be done with a cutting knife and a paring knife. As for tuna, make sure it's "super, super fresh" and has a delicate smell. "If something smells delicate and nice, it probably is," Chef Lee said. And forget all the new gizmos that peel mangoes for you and such; they take up valuable space and often don't work as well as doing the task yourself.

Unfortunately, after all that, I was hoping to get a sample of this heavenly creation. Chef Lee, who serves this in his restaurant in a champagne flute, promised it would create a party in my mouth and I was sure up for one. But health department regulations preclude samplings. There would've been a stampede anyway, despite the blue cheese groans, 'cause that salad - with apologies to my grandmother and every other cook in her generation - looked mighty fine.

Culinary demos continue through the week in Room 204C.

Inquirer Staff Writer
0 comments
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
 
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com
letter icon Newsletter