Monday, June 15, 2009

First CSA Challenge recipe: Tex-Mex Salad

I loved LOVED this salad! My favorite salads are the ones with all the goodies like chicken, high quality cheese, something crunchy. I especially love salads with a Tex-Mex theme.
So I created this recipe, using three different salad greens from our wonderful CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share. (To read more about my CSA self-challenge, click here.)
I wanted a BIG SALAD, just like Elaine on Seinfeld. So this recipe is for two main entree salads.

5 small corn tortillas, cut into strips
Corn oil for frying
1 chipotle pepper
2 tsp adobe sauce
1/2 cup whole milk plain yogurt
1/3 cup mayonnaise
juice of 1 lime
pinch of salt, ground pepper
1 shallot
1/2 up lightly packed cilantro

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
A variety of salad greens, about 4-5 cups
Shredded sharp, aged cheddar cheese
1/2 cup canned corn or Mexicorn

First, make the fried tortilla strips. Ever since I fried my own tortilla chips, I am addicted. I don't make them a lot, but they taste so much better than bagged chips!
First, heat up your corn oil in a small skillet to about 350 degrees. Drop your tortilla strips in in small batches, stirring then removing with a slotted spoon after they start to calm down and darken. It doesn't take long at all, just a minute or two so don't walk away from the stove! Place them on a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt before putting in the next batch.

These are the strips before they have "calmed down." They are excited and bubbly when you first put them in.

Continue until you fry all the strips.

Then, try not to eat all of them before the rest of the salad is done!

Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 400 on broil. (I used the toaster oven, less heat in the kitchen to cook one little bitty chicken breast.)
Then, make the dressing. Combine all dressing ingredients except cilantro in a food processor or blender, mix just a little bit to incorporate the chipotle pepper and shallot. Put 1/3 cup of the dressing in a small bowl, set on the counter. You're gonna use this in a minute. Chop the cilantro, then add to the larger amount of dressing and put in the fridge until everything else is ready.

Now, take the chicken breast and season it on both sides with salt and pepper. Then, dip it in the reserved 1/3 cup dressing (or use a brush to coat both sides of the chicken.) Put the chicken on a wire rack, with a tray beneath it. Broil until internal temperature is 175F, flipping once. I think it took mine about 20 minutes total to cook.

The yogurt prevents the chicken from drying out. It had a great flavor!!

Rinse your salad greens and put on two big plates. To highlight the greens I used from Goldfinch Farms.....

First, my favorite from Goldfinch-arugula!! I have never tasted a more peppery arugula anywhere else. The flavor knocks my socks off. I can eat it plain, and I am not normally someone who nibbles on any variety of plain, raw greens. But this...this is something I look forward to every year now.

We also received a bag of mixed baby greens. They are tender, and include a wider variety than pictured here. Very, very good.

This, I think, is a type of red romaine. I could be wrong here. I liked the more sturdy nature of this lettuce for my salad, because of all the heavy toppings.

Add your desired amount of shredded cheese, and the corn. Slice the chicken and put half on each salad. Add the tortilla strips and drizzle with half the dressing.

Mmm I could eat this salad every day. Well, at least every week for awhile!

I served mojitos with this! Margaritas also acceptable.

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