Monday, June 7, 2010

Cooking: Fiesta Salad

If you need a salad with "wow," this is it. This is a knock-out visually and tastes just as good as it looks!

My Fiesta Salad is adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe for a “Southwestern Cobb Salad” she demonstrated during a June 6, 2001 segment of The Early Show. The recipe doesn’t seem to be online anymore—I’ve searched everywhere. The Martha version includes chicken, bacon and eggs along with some southwestern ingredients. I have made it many times and love it—it’s an entrĂ©e all on its own.

For my Fiesta Forty birthday party (full story coming soon) however I skipped the traditional cobb ingredients in her recipe and instead added two more veggie/fruit sections so it was more appropriate as a side.  So here is my recipe for a Fiesta Salad with modified ingredients and my own instructions for creating it. I have made it party sized and it would be great with grilled meat or fish, or grilled tacos.

Makes 18 to 24 hearty servings
  • Juice of 9 limes 
  • 3 yellow bell peppers
  • 12 medium ripe tomatoes (I used tomatoes on the vine), cut in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup roughly chopped pitted black olives (buy sliced olives and chop into pieces)
  • 3 Vidalia, or other sweet onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 14-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed2-3 large, ripe, but firm mangos, peeled and chopped into ½ pieces to yield about 2 cups
  • 3 poblano (pasilla) peppers
  • 6 ripe but firm Hass avocados, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 large jicama peeled and chopped in ½ pieces to yield about 3 cups
  • Coarse kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar for seasoning
  • 6 heads romaine, sliced into 1” pieces (I slice before separating the leaves and then wash and spin dry)
  • Martha Stewart Southwestern Green Goddess Dressing (unaltered recipe follows)
This salad consists of a bed of romaine topped with five mixes:

1. Roasted yellow peppers, tomatoes, olives and onions
2. Black beans, onions and cilantro
3. Jicama
4. Avocado, roasted poblano peppers and cilantro
5. Mango, tomatoes and onions

1. Roast the yellow peppers (you will be roasting the poblano peppers as well so it makes sense to do them at the same time). To roast: wash, cut open “butterfly” style and seed so the pepper will lie flat. Place on foil-covered baking sheet and broil in the oven until skin is blackened. Remove peppers from oven and place in bowl covered tightly with plastic wrap to sweat until cooled. Peel blackened skin from peppers and throw out. Chop the roasted peppers into ½ pieces. In a bowl combine peppers, ½ the chopped tomatoes, olives, and ½ the onions. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

2. In another bowl combine black beans, all but ¼ cup remaining onions, and half the cilantro. Add olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

3. Roast the poblano peppers and chop into 1/4" pieces (see instructions for roasting in step 1 above). In a bowl combine poblano with avocados, remaining cilantro, juice of 6 limes, and 1 teaspoon cumin; season with salt and pepper.

4. In another bowl combine jicama with juice of two limes, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and a sprinkling of kosher salt.

5. In another bowl combine mangoes, remaining tomatoes, remaining onion and juice of 1 lime. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt.

Arrange romaine on a serving platter. Arrange mixtures in sections across the romaine. Drizzle with dressing; serve.

Martha Stewart GREEN GODDESS DRESSING (from “Southwestern Cobb Salad”)

Makes 1 1/2 cups

Let dressing sit overnight to meld flavors.

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bunch chives, coarsely chopped (1/3 cup)
  • 2 scallions, white and green parts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground (no black) pepper
  • Pinch of ground cayenne pepper (optional)
Combine ingredients in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 3 days.


Yolanda said...

Wowzers. That looks INCREDIBLE. And delicious.

Natalie | Make Today Great said...

Saving this to my Delicious. I'm planning a baby shower in a few weeks and we're doing a luncheon... this might work for that.

Glory said...

Wow, that is one GORGEOUS salad!! And a beautiful photo! So perfect for summer! Thanks for sharing!

Marisa said...

I made this for a party yesterday. It was a little more work than I usually like, but so worth it! It was really tasty and everyone loved it. Can't wait to have the leftovers today!

Anonymous said...

Made this for a family dinner (20 people) to celebrate my husband's birthday. I made it because it looks so pretty and special. An unbelievable amount of work!! Fortunately, it was also fabulous. Each of the five salads is delicious; the only change I made was using mint instead of cilantro (husband dislikes), cutting the quantity called for in half. It was amazing and a great juxtaposition of flavors. I agonized over the dressing for no reason. The dressing was not needed or used. Each sald stands on its own.

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