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Traditional Benin meals are not served in courses. Some families borrow a French custom and start meals with a plate of crudités--to add color to the meal. This recipe reflects this tradition.
- 1 cup yukon gold potato, 3/4-inch cubed and peeled
- 1 cup sweet potato, 3/4-inch cubed and peeled
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup cauliflower floret
- 1 cup broccoli floret
- 4 medium carrots, peeled
- 3 small beets
- 10 bibb lettuce
- 10 small red cabbage leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1⁄8 teaspoon sugar
- 1⁄8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 dried habanero chiles
- 1⁄2 cup prepared seafood cocktail sauce
- 1⁄4 cup light mayonnaise
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
- To prepare salad, place potatoes in a medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes or until tender. Drain; rinse with cold water. Drain. Place potatoes in a large bowl.
- Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add cauliflower and broccoli. Cook 1 minute or until crisp-tender. Drain; rinse with cold water. Drain. Add cauliflower mixture to potatoes.
- Using a vegetable peeler, scrape carrots from tip to stem to make long ribbons. Add carrot to potato mixture, tossing gently to combine.
- Leave root and 1-inch stem on beets; scrub with a brush. Place in a medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until tender. Drain; rinse with cold water. Drain; cool. Trim off beet roots; rub off skins. Cut beets into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange lettuce and cabbage leaves alternately on a large platter.
- To prepare vinaigrette, combine thyme and next 5 ingredients (thyme through 1/8 teaspoon black pepper), stirring with a whisk. Add oil, stirring well to combine; drizzle vinaigrette over lettuce. Spoon potato mixture over lettuce; top with beets.
- To prepare dipping sauce, place chiles in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground. Place 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground chile in a medium bowl (reserve remaining ground chile for another use). Add cocktail sauce and remaining ingredients, stirring well to combine. Serve with vegetables.