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Salad ~ Variation I

Depending on the combination of salad ingredients you use, this salad is either a meal in itself or a salad course.  With the chips, seeds, nuts and raisins it is an enjoyable lunch when you are really hungry.  For a salad course, fewer seeds, raisins and nuts–or none at all–and maybe a few sauteed strips of corn or flour tortilla to replace the chips–or not.  The vinaigrette is interesting enough to serve on a mixture of lettuces without any other additions.  In that case, a serrano chile garnish looks pretty.  The vinaigrette recipe will make about a cup, which is enough for 8 dinner guests, since it is not mixed with the lettuces, but dolloped on here and there over the individual salads before serving.  You can compose the salads on the plates ahead of time and finish with the vinaigrette just before serving.*

Variation ~ I

Salad Ingredients:

  • Cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • Cucumber, peeled, seeded, sliced several times lengthwise and then crosswise into 1/2-inch cubes
  • A mixture of lettuce greens
  • Any or all of the following:  pine nuts, raisins, unsalted shelled pistachioes and pumpkin seeds
  • Crumbled Corn Tortilla Chips
  • Serrano chiles for garnish
  • Sauteed strips of corn or flour tortilla for garnish, if making this as a salad course and you aren’t including chips in the salad
  1. Place the greens in a large bowl.  Crumble in some corn tortilla chips and toss with the greens. 
  2. In a smaller bowl, mix together the cherry tomatoes and cucumber. 
  3. Divide the greens/chip mixture among individual plates.  Arrange the tomato/cucumber mixture attractively on top of the greens.
  4. Sprinkle each salad lightly with the nuts, raisins and seeds and spoon dribbles of vinaigrette down and around on each salad.  Garnish each salad with a Serrano chile if you are using them.

Variation~ I Vinaigrette

 Peach and Cilantro Vinaigrette for Variation ~ I

Vinaigrette ~ Ingredients:

  • 3 peaches, peeled, seeded, and cut up in large pieces
  • 1/4 cup of green onions, white and green parts,  chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • the juice of two Key limes, or to taste (two limes will give a mild flavour)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 or 2 Tablespoons of tequila
  • 1 Serrano chile, seeded or not (hotter not)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  1. Blend all the ingredients except the olive oil until well combined.  Add the oil and process until well blended and smooth.

 

Salad Variation ~ II

Variation ~ II

The peaches and tomatoes switch places in Variation II.  The peaches and lettuce are a delicate combination and so, make an especially good choice for a salad course.  The vinaigrette has a fresh taste and a slow burn that surprisingly enough, doesn’t overwhelm the fruit.  Leave out the cashews if you are serving this for a dinner party.  Without them, this is a salad course that won’t be too heavy, nor will people hurry through it, because the combination of flavours is pleasing and unexpected.  The serrano chile garnish works here too.

 Salad Ingredients:

  • Any varieties of lettuce greens
  • Several peaches, peeled, seeded and cut in 3/4-inch cubes  (To avoid discoloration, cut the peach shortly before you assemble the salads, or sprinkle the cubes with some lime juice, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.)
  • Whole unsalted cashews, browned in a dry pan or in the oven at 400 F.
  • Cherry tomatoes, quartered
  1. Arrange the greens on individual plates.
  2. Arrange cherry tomatoes and peaches on the greens.
  3. Sprinkle each plate with a few cashews, if you are using them.
  4. Dribble small blobs of vinaigrette around on each salad, and add the serrano chile garnish if you like.

 Cilantro/Tomato Vinaigrette for Variation ~ II  (about 1 cup)

Variation ~ II Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette – II Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce cilantro leaves, or about 1 cup, tightly packed)
  • 2 small tomatoes, cored
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 green chile
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 5 Tablespoons olive oil 
  1. Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients in a food processor and mix until smooth.

*I have made use of ideas suggested by other blogs (Eat. Drink. Smile and Steamy Kitchen), as well as a salad recipe from an issue of Gourmet Magazine from the early eighties.

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011

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