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.
Cooking Light APRIL 2003
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.
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