Traditional West African meals are not served in courses. Some families, like my friends the Komaclos, borrow a French custom and start meals with a plate of crudités--crisp vegetables that add color to the meal. The dipping sauce, similar to Thousand Island dressing, combines light mayonnaise and cocktail sauce.
1 cup (3/4-inch) cubed peeled Yukon gold potato
1 cup (3/4-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato
4 cups water
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup broccoli florets
4 medium carrots, peeled
3 small beets (about 8 ounces)
10 Bibb lettuce leaves
10 small red cabbage leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons extravirgin olive oil
2 dried habanero chiles
1/2 cup prepared cocktail sauce
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of ground ginger
How to Make It
To prepare salad, place potatoes in a medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes or until tender. Drain; rinse with cold water. Drain. Place potatoes in a large bowl. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add cauliflower and broccoli. Cook 1 minute or until crisp-tender. Drain; rinse with cold water. Drain. Add cauliflower mixture to potatoes. Using a vegetable peeler, scrape carrots from tip to stem to make long ribbons. Add carrot to potato mixture, tossing gently to combine. Leave root and 1-inch stem on beets; scrub with a brush. Place in a medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until tender. Drain; rinse with cold water. Drain; cool. Trim off beet roots; rub off skins. Cut beets into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange lettuce and cabbage leaves alternately on a large platter.
To prepare vinaigrette, combine thyme and next 5 ingredients (thyme through 1/8 teaspoon black pepper), stirring with a whisk. Add oil, stirring well to combine; drizzle vinaigrette over lettuce. Spoon potato mixture over lettuce; top with beets.
To prepare dipping sauce, place chiles in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground. Place 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground chile in a medium bowl (reserve remaining ground chile for another use). Add cocktail sauce and remaining ingredients, stirring well to combine. Serve with vegetables.