The Taste of Austerity: Luigi's Salad

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"How about I bring a salad to the party? I have the most amazing recipe. Trust me."

And so I did, and my friend, Jill, brought the salad. It was one of the most delicious concoctions I've tried in recent memory, and everyone asked her about it.

"We lived down the street from Luigi's on Fulham Road, and they made this incredible salad of mango, papaya, tomatoes, bocconcini and avocado. We used to buy a big container of it every weekend (which was a considerable fortune), but it was so good, that I couldn't live without it. Then we moved here, and I panicked. How was I going to get my Luigi's salad? So I experimented, and I finally landed on the recipe. It's so easy, it's kind of crazy."

Ready, readers?

Mango, papaya, cherry tomatoes, bocconcini, avocado, chopped fresh basil, and a little salt. Yes, that is it. No dressing. Just a ripe avocado that acts like a dressing, bringing it all together.

The most complicated thing about the recipe is selecting the papaya. When it came time for me to make my own salad, I went to the store, picked up a pomegranate and asked a fellow shopper if she knew how to pick a papaya. (Ugh. Now I know to look for one turning from green to yellow). Then, not surprisingly, I was stumped on how to cut it. (Lengthwise, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, then scoop out the flesh with a spoon. You could also peel the skin off at this point, and cut the fruit into wedges.)

If you want a healthier option, cut the bocconcini in half. If you want a super healthy version, skip the bocconcini all together.

So for this salad, give your money to Waitrose instead of Luigi's – then spend what you saved on Luigi's charcuterie selection.