Southern Italians have a strong connection with Africa. Physically it is so close. Many of us have African blood pulsing through our veins. My oldest sister has always had a strong affinity with African culture, especially it's dance.
|My sister (back to us) and the other dancers from Djoniba Dance and Drum Centre in Senegal.|
My sister had been a professional dancer and at one time she was involved with a group that taught African dance to the inner city kids of New Haven, Ct. Her group also performed and traveled to Senegal to learn dances by visiting villages throughout the country.
|Children from a village in Senegal.|
The original dish our French Fridays with Dorie group is making: Tuna and Mango Ceviche is inspired by France's colonial connection with the West African country of Senegal.
My sister never spoke much about the food of Senegal, but I do remember her saying that,
when someone greets you in Senegal and asks, "How are you?" They really want to know. It isn't just a polite thing to say like it is for us.
|Dancer at a festival in Senegal.|
So I tried to take this to heart. I slowed down and enjoy this dish, while I tried to connect more with the people around me. I didn't make the original raw tuna version because I really wasn't up to tracking down sushi grade tuna.
The salad I made was delicious. Light and colorful with a bundle of contrasting flavors. I don't regret not making the original recipe. Instead of driving around to stores, I spent the day relaxing with my family and enjoying one of the last beautiful days of Summer.
|My sister and a Senegalese dancer.|
I would say that was more in keeping with the Senegalese spirit...wouldn't you?
West African Tuna Salad
by Diane Balch
adapted from "Tuna and Mango Ceviche" from Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan
preparation time 15 minutes serves 4
2 tablespoons of Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of minced cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon of minced ginger
1 tablespoon of white or light rum
1 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce
2 cans of Tonno tuna
1 small red onion minced
1 red chile pepper minced
1 ripe mango cubed
2 ripe avocados cubed
1) Whisk together in a small bowl: the juice and zest of one lime, ginger, EVOO, rum, cilantro, salt and some pepper. Put aside.
2) In a medium size bowl put the tuna that has been drained and flaked. Add the red onion and chile pepper. Mix.
3) Add the mango and avocados to the tuna mixture. Spray the avocado with the juice of 1 lime. Gentle mix the mango and avocados into the tuna.
4) Once all the ingredients are tossed drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and gentle mix again.
5) Garnish with more cilantro leaves.
6) Cut the remaining lime into wedges and have the Tabasco sauce available so everyone can adjust the salad to their personal tastes.
Note: As a member of French Friday's with Dorie I am not allowed to print the recipe. I invite you to take a look at this wonderful cookbook "Around My French Table" if you are interested in this or any other recipe I review.