Five-Layer Avocado Salad

MAKES: 4 to 6 servings

TIME: 20 minutes

Serve this festive salad family style, as part of a Mexican buffet, with Naked Tamales with Chile Cheese Filling, or as the centerpiece of a light lunch. Whenever you serve it, you’ll enjoy the alternating, contrasting layers of soft and sweet fruit—avocado and tomato—and crisp and powerful vegetables. If you can easily find Mexican crema, substitute that for the mayonnaise and sour cream.

1/4 cup mayonnaise (see make your own)

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 limes

1 or 2 fresh serrano chiles, minced, or to taste

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large ripe tomatoes, cored and cut crosswise into 4 thick slices

1/4 pound jГ­cama, daikon or other radishes, Asian pear, or Granny Smith apple, peeled if necessary, grated or finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)

3 small oranges, preferably blood oranges, peeled of skin and pith and thinly sliced crosswise

1 small red onion, halved and sliced paper-thin

2 medium avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

01 Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, and olive oil. Add the juice of two of the limes and the chiles and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put in a small pitcher or serving bowl.

02 Arrange the tomatoes in one layer on a large, deep platter or bowl. Spread the jГ­cama on top, followed by orange and then onion slices. Top with the avocado slices. Drizzle the salad with about 1/4 cup of the dressing, garnish with cilantro and wedges of the remaining lime, and serve, passing the remaining dressing at the table.

Variations

Six-Layer Avocado Salad with Mangoes. More is better: Peel, pit, and cube 1 medium mango. Add it to the salad on top of the onions and before the avocado.

Six-Layer Avocado Salad with Queso Fresco. A little more savory but no longer vegan: Crumble 4 ounces (about 1/2 cup) queso fresco. Add it to the salad between the onions and avocado.