The best way to serve the Ensalada de Noche Buena is to spread all the ingredients out on a large serving dish, so that the colours and textures stand out, drizzle the dressing over everything, take it to the table and then toss it once everybody has admired your artistry – as although it may be a strange combination of ingredients, it does look stunning, flamboyant and very colourful.
Christmas Eve Salad – Ensalada de Noche Buena
1 Cos or Romaine lettuce, separated into leaves, washed and dried
500 g/18 oz beetroot, cooked, peeled and sliced
2 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced into discs
4 seedless oranges, peeled and sliced
200 g/7 oz pineapple, net peeled weight, cubed
2 tart green apples, cored and sliced
Seeds from 1 small pomegranate
100 g/4 oz roasted salted peanuts
1 hottish red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
3 limes, 2 quartered and 1 juiced
125 ml/1/2 cup sesame oil
30 ml/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Arrange the lettuce leaves in a circular pattern, like the spokes of a wheel, on a large serving dish. Place the beetroot, bananas, oranges, pineapple and apples in individual mounds on top of the lettuce, and sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds, peanuts and chilli. Garnish with lime quarters.
Mix the oil, vinegar and lime juice with some seasoning in a cup and whisk with a fork. Pour the dressing over the salad and take it to the table. Once the applause has died down, give the fruit and vegetables a light tossing, so that they are all coated with the dressing, and serve immediately.
Feliz Navidad, and Merry Christmas.