Friday, November 27, 2009

Frog's Eye Salad

The first thing my mother said when she saw this on the Thanksgiving table was, "Please do not take a photo of that and put it on your blog." She said this as I was whipping out my camera to take a photo of this distinctly Utah treat: Frog's Eye Salad.

My brother was gifted this salad on Thanksgiving morning. He did not particularly want it. I can't imagine why. I saw it sitting on the corner of the counter in a tupperware and was intrigued -- I have a secret fondness for distinctly weird regional recipes.

We hid the salad only to make it reappear on the Thanksgiving table, right next to Mom's place setting. It looked so nice next to the turkey, sweet & mashed potatoes, onion confit, cranberry sauce, rolls, green beans, and stuffing.

Based on a tasting I thought it was tapioca, crushed pineapple, mandarin oranges and mini marshmallows, held together by a binder of cool whip. In my search for a recipe, however, I discovered that what I thought was tapioca might actually have been pearl pasta. In my mind this only adds intrigue and mystery to this dish that may have graced many a Thanksgiving table, but will likely not be invited back to ours.

Here's a recipe (just in case my description has made your mouth water.) If I were to ever make this I think I'd stick with regular old white mini-marshmallows rather than colored minis. But the color does jazz up the table... so its really a matter of creative inspiration.

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunks in its own juice, undrained
2 (11-ounce) cans mandarin orange segments, drained
1 large egg, beaten
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/3 cups (8 ounces) Acine di Pepe Pasta, uncooked
3 1/2 cups (8 ounces) frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed and divided
3 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup flaked coconut (optional)
Maraschino cherries (optional)

1. In medium saucepan, stir together sugar, flour and salt.
2. Drain pineapple, reserving juice to equal 1 cup. With whisk, gradually stir juice and egg into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in lemon juice. Cool mixture to room temperature.
3. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Rinse with cold water to cool quickly; drain well.
4. In large bowl, stir together pineapple juice mixture and pasta. Cover; refrigerate several hours or overnight.
5. Add crushed pineapple and chunks, oranges, 2 cups whipped topping, marshmallows and coconut if you are using it; mix gently and thoroughly. Cover; refrigerate until cold.
6. Top with remaining whipped topping; garnish with cherries, if desired.

Makes 12 servings.

1 comment:

Shelley (Pink House) said...

Oh my gosh! I once asked an older relative (mother of my sister-in-law) to bring a "salad" as one of the side dishes for our family Christmas dinner. She brought this "salad" and I was utterly horrified! It looked more like dessert, and a bad one at that. Then I felt bad because no one was taking servings of it on the buffet. I dished up a bit and quietly asked my husband to do the same. When she was leaving she seemed surprised to have so much left and said, "I thought the kids would like this!" (but the kids in this family are used to things like Ceasar salad from scratch and roasted tomato tapenade and wild mushroom stuffing, NOT colored marshmallow "salads".)