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Norma's Terrace Salad

A salad worthy of any occasion

This salad is named after Norma Shirley, mother of my partner and love, Delius Shirley. Norma was dubbed "Julia Child of the Caribbean," and rightfully so. She brought Caribbean cooking to another level with her creativity, passion, representation, and presentation of her beloved Jamaica. This salad was inspired by Norma. I cannot do her version justice, but I will try in its translation. The norma Shirley Fund was set up in her honor. Delius donates $1 for each salad sold in our establishments to the fund, which benefits culinary students' school fees at the University of Technology in Kingston.

This recipe is courtesy of Ortanique Restaurants.


For the salad:

  • 2 endive bulbs, roots cut off, julienned
  • 2 Cups mixed local baby greens
  • 1 Cup local arugula (baby arugula is milder)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Cup sweet fresh grapefruit, cut into segments
  • 1/2 Cup crumbled feta cheese (do not buy pre-crumbled)
  • 1 firm, ripe solo papaya, peeled, seeded, and cut into wedges
  • 1 firm, ripe, seasonal mango, peeled, seeded, and cut into wedges
  • 1 firm, ripe avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut into wedges
  • 1 Cup European cucumber curls (if you have a Chinese vertical cutter, it's a fun kitchen tool)
  • 1 Cup red or gold beet curls
  • 1 Cup Caribbean Candied Pecans

For the Caribbean Candied Pecans:

  • 2 Pounds raw pecans
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1 Teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 Teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 Cup Jamaican brown sugar
  • 1/3 Cup simple syrup (super-saturated, boiled sugar water)


For the salad:

In a stainless steel bowl, mix endive, baby greens, and arugula. Sprinkle with a little salt and a few turns of the pepper mill, seasoning to taste.

Then toss with grapefruit, feta, and 1/2 cup cup salad dressing.

On the inside border of four plates, alternate papaya, mango, and avocado wedges, dividing fruits evenly among the plates.

Drizzle with 1/4 cup dressing.

Place mixed greens in center of each plate, piling them high.

Toss cucumber curls with two tablespoons dressing and arrange like a flower on top.

Do the same with beet curls and remaining dressing.

Garnish with spiced nuts.

For the Caribbean Candied Pecans:

In a 325 degree (F) oven, toast pecans until aromatic, six to eight minutes.

Meanwhile, combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.

When pecans are toasted, remove from overn but do not turn off the heat.

Moisten pecans with the spice-sugar mixture. Return to oven and bake for another six to eight minutes.

When done, cool completely before sealing in an airtight container. If they are not completely cool when sealed, they will create steam and become soggy.