August 09, 2006
Jennifer McPadden of Mumbo Gumbo
Mumbo Gumbo, a brand new Sag Harbor restaurant, boasts a Cajun-themed menu and has been drawing diners in ever since the place opened in July. Chef Jennifer McPadden is behind the lunch menu. She says her mom inspired her to get into cooking at a young age. As early as 15, McPadden worked at local places like Silver's, The Driver's Seat and The Corner Bar.
McPadden later opened Belles Café in Westhampton on a shoestring. She found the space through a classified ad. She approached her friend Linda (Didi) Jones and asked her to be her partner.
Most recently in the beginning of the 2006 season, McPadden brought her Cajun concept to the breakfast and lunch program at Mumbo Gumbo in Sag Harbor.
Southern Chicken Salad
Marinate two chicken breasts in olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper.
Blanch Cajun candied pecans in lightly salted water, drain and toss in bowl of melted butter, brown sugar and Cajun spice. Place on sheet in 325-degree oven until toasty — about 15 minutes — take out of oven, let cool to room temperature.
Prepare dressing for salad
Hellman's mayonnaise (about 2 cups)
Dijon mustard (about 1 cup)
Honey (about 1 cup)
Italian seasoning (2 pinches)
Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or by hand with a whisk. Taste and adjust to your liking.
Use a large round plate, preferably white to show off all the beautiful colors in this salad. You can serve the dish individual or family style. Mound a tower of your favorite torn lettuce in the center of your plate. Arrange a few slices of cucumber together, turn the plate and arrange a mound of julienned carrots together in a pile, turn the plate again and arrange paper-thin sliced red onion up the plate and toward the center.
Grab a handful of blueberries and toss them over the red onion. In the blank spaces of the rim of the plate, fill in with peeled round orange slices, strawberries left with their green tops on and sliced down the center, sliced kiwi, sliced pineapple wedges (remove rind) and sliced watermelon wedges (remove rind).
Grill the marinated chicken, and afterward let it rest a moment. Meanwhile, drizzle your salad and fruits and veggies with the honey mustard sauce using a plastic squirt bottle. Slice the chicken, mound the slices on top of salad, drizzle a little more dressing, toss a handful of those Cajun candied pecans on top and garnish with green onion.