Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Chef Sarah Master of Minneapolis' Red Stag Supperclub updates an unfairly maligned midwest classic; the ambrosia salad.

Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Transcript

- The ambrosia salad is something that I used to eat as a child and my grandparents and parents used to force on my brother and I growing up. It was a little outdated, and so I thought it would be really fun to take something like that, that people kind of crinkle their nose at and bring it up to date and make it beautiful and delicious. Hi, my name is Sarah Master, I'm the executive chef of the Red Stag Supper Club in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Red Stag Supper Club is a Minnesota-style supper Club. We focus on Midwestern cuisine, and the Midwestern cuisine is probably most known for not really ever updating. The history of ambrosia salad in Minneapolis was back after World War II when travel became really popular. Citrus from the south started to come up north, and everybody was really excited and decided that they needed to make a salad out of the citrus, and originally, it was just citrus and sugar, maybe pineapple as well, but then it grew to include marshmallows. We like to take the dishes that were made in Minneapolis years ago and modernizing them to make them great again. The ambrosia salad was something that started off really good. It kind of got a bad reputation over the years, and I thought it was my responsibility as a Midwestern chef to return it to its former glory. Instead of doing pineapple chunks, we decided to do a pineapple sauce for the dish to make it something that you dip the citrus into instead of having that really acidic pineapple in the dish. We take pineapple juice and xanthan gum and put it in a blender. Turn the blender on and then add the pineapple chunks. We blend it, and it starts to become a little bit foamy and thickens up to make a nice sauce for the plate. Once everything is emulsified, we season with salt to taste and set it aside. A classic part of the ambrosia salad is the marshmallow element, and we've taken that and made it into a sweet chili guimauve. Guimauve is actually just a French word for marshmallows. I wanted to put a little bit of heat in the salad, so I have taken the jalapenos and sliced them really thinly and put them in a dehydrator. Once the jalapenos are crispy, we take them and put them in a blender and turn into them into powder. We set that aside and start working on the marshmallow. In a stand mixer, we're gonna add some egg whites and whip them 'til their just foamy. In a pan we gonna add corn syrup, sugar, water, and cream of tartar. We're gonna simmer everything until it's 240 degrees, which is a number that it's not quite reaching candy stage. It's still gonna be a nice liquid sugar. Once it's simmered, we're gonna allow the bubbles to subside to cool it down just a little bit. Take the sugar mixture and add it to the egg white while the mixture is going at a medium high speed, so that it very slowly cooks the egg whites and starts forming our marshmallow fluff. We add the the Xanthan gum just to stiffen it up a little bit and make it a really stable mixture, and then add the powdered jalapenos to it at the end. You're really looking for a really nice shiny, pliable mixture to swoosh it on the plate. The coconut dressing is an important thing to add because back in the day, they used to do sweetened shredded coconut as a little garnish on top, so instead of doing that, we've taken that and made it into the dressing. Into the blender we put coconut milk, orange juice, lime juice, the jalapeno, and honey. Blend it until the jalapeno is completely pulverized, and then you start with the canola oil and add that in a steady stream while the blender is still going to emulsify the mixture. Then we're gonna add the guar gum, which is a thickener, which makes that dressing really hold up well to the acid in the citrus. Season with salt to taste. Your dressing is gonna seem like it's really thick, but once it gets on the oranges and everything else in the salad, it thins out a little bit. On the plating of the ambrosia salad, we decided that we needed to modernize that as well as the flavors in it, so instead of throwing everything together in a bowl, we decided to kind of deconstruct it a little bit. In a small bowl, mix together your grapefruit, cara cara oranges and blood oranges. I like to use a variety of citrus in this. Grapefruit brings a really nice acidity. Your cara cara oranges are sweet, and your blood oranges add a really nice color to the dish. Add our cucumber and avocado and dress it with the coconut dressing. When you mix the salad, you wanna make sure you have a really nice balance of the sweetness and the acidity. Once everything is mixed together, season it with salt. Next thing we do is build the plate. To the plate, you wanna do a nice little swoosh of the guimauve. Take a little bit, and you put it on the plate, and then just take the back of your spoon and drag it through the mixture. Add your pineapple sauce, the same thing. You put a little dot of it on the plate, and then drag the back of your spoon through it to make a nice swoosh with that. Put the citrus on the plate, and you wanna make sure that you have enough of the citrus to make sure that with every bite you get a little bit of the guimauve and a little bit of the pineapple as well. We sprinkle it with a little toasted coconut. This is unsweetened coconut flakes, which give it a nice little toasty flavor. The last thing we do is add a little bit of cilantro leaves to the salad. And there you have our updated version of the classic ambrosia salad. The really great thing about this ambrosia salad is the really great freshness of the citrus. We've got a nice fatty element with the avocado, crispy cucumber all tied together with the coconut dressing. You take all that and swipe that through the pineapple sauce and the sweet chili guimauve, and it's a really fun way to eat the ambrosia salad. People have this preconceived notion that ambrosia salad is this stodgy thing that your grandma made you eat when you were a kid, but this one is really fresh, and people get really nostalgic, and it comes out. Everybody gets really excited at the table and goes, "Oh." Our ambrosia salad really honors the traditions that I grew up with with my family. It was something that was served in a time of celebration. So at the Red Stag, we like to honor that memory and that celebration and serve it with a lot of love because it comes from a good place, a place that's really down deep in my heart.