I realize that I’m a bit late to the party, but I’ve recently been reading Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events books. When the Netflix series came out earlier this year, Dennis and I binged watched them, and we were left wanting more. Rather than wait until who knows when for the next season, I started reading the books.
Although I still have a few more to go, I’ve been reading through the books quite quickly. As much as I want to find out if Count Olaf is ever defeated, I’ve been enjoying spending time with the Baudelaires, and I don’t want it to end. Yes, these are kids’ books, but they are written in a way that adults will enjoy, too.
In The Slippery Slope, Mr. Snicket has hidden a letter to his sister, because he’s quite sure that no one will want to read the book. In the letter he tells her that her suggestion of “a simple combination of sliced mango, black beans, and chopped celery mixed with black pepper, lime juice, and olive oil would make a delicious chilled salad” turned out be correct.
“Hmm… that sounds good,” I thought, “but I’m not sure if I’d like all of that celery.” And as if he read my mind, in the letter’s postscript, he states that the salad is just as delicious with hearts of palm rather than celery. Now that sounds like my kind of salad! Of course, I had to try it. The Snickets were correct – it is a delicious salad.
Later in the book, in a flashback, the Baudelaire’s mother is preparing for a luncheon, and she’s made the same salad. She explains to baby Sunny that it’s not a complicated recipe, but if it’s arranged nicely on fancy plates, people will think the dish took a look of time to prepare. “Often, when cooking, the presentation of the food can be as important as the food itself.” I think any food blogger will agree.
I’ve enjoyed this Black Bean Mango Salad (or Snicket Salad as I’ve been calling it) as a side dish with sandwiches. To make a meal out of it, I’ve added some avocado and served it over chopped romaine lettuce. It’s great for potlucks, picnics, and cookouts. Serve it on a fancy plate, and your guests will think you slaved away in the kitchen for hours!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- ½ tablespoon black pepper, plus more for serving
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 14-ounce can black beans
- 14-ounce jar of hearts of palm, thinly sliced
- 2 mangos, peeled and diced
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, black pepper, salt, and crusted red pepper flakes.
- In a large bowl, mix together the black beans, hearts of palm, and mangos. Gently fold in the dressing.
- Chill for about half an hour before serving. Garnish with fresh cracked pepper.