Viva La Ensalada

Posted by francis keyser Friday, July 30, 2010
Taste Level: VGR
Cost: $20 and under
Serves: 6-8
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 30-35 min.
Difficulty: 2

I decided since I had two Mexican styled recipes in a row why not make this an all Mexican inspired food week! Closing out the week is a crazy good stacked salad that is inspired not only by Mexican food but a stacked salad Zo saw Back of the House cooking school demoing at her work. She told me how they made it using mostly prepackaged ingredients. They even used precooked rice, I didn't know such a thing existed. Zo made their salad and I thought it was pretty darn tasty. So I thought I would make a version of my own. I made some Mexican rice, used toasted tostadas in lieu of tortilla chips, Mexicorn instead of corn salsa, Green jalapeno salsa in lieu of red salsa, fajita meat in lieu of chicken, mixed salad greens in lieu of baby spinach... OK I substitute a ton of different things as well as completely taking away items, adding ingredients, adding seasonings, making a different dressing and changing the order you make the salad in. I mean they have you put the dressing in the center of the salad, if you don't eat it right away it will get soggy and gross?!? Plus I found this is a great chilled salad as well as warm. So enjoy this crazy stacked salad inspired by Back of the House and delicious Mexican cuisine!

Ingredients:
Salad
2/3 of a 15 oz can black beans (drained, rinsed)
1/2 of a 11 oz can Jolly Green Giant Mexicorn (drained)
1 large avocado (sliced)
3/4 cups grape plumb tomatoes (halved)
1/3 cup of green jalapeno salsa
2-3 tbsp fresh cilantro (torn)
1/2 of a limes juice)
2 handfuls 50/50 baby spinach/spring mix salad mix
4 corn tostadas (toasted)
2 tbsp chipotle cheddar (shredded)
2 tbsp aged sharp cheddar (shredded)
2 tbsp feta (crumbled)
1-2 pinches cumin
fresh crack pepper (to taste)

Fajita Meat
1/2 lb Skirt steak (chopped)
1 1/2 tbsp red onion (chopped)
1 1/2 tbsp green bell (chopped)
1 1/2 tbsp red bell (chopped)
1 1/2 tbsp orange bell (chopped)
1 1/2 tbsp yellow bell (chopped)
2-3 tbsp fresh orange juice
1/2 of fresh limes juice
2 tbsp white grape fruit juice
2 tbsp Gold Tequila or Mezcal
2 tbsp fresh cilantro
2 tbsp sweet onion (chopped)
1/4 jalapeno (diced, optional)
fresh crack pepper (to taste)
kosher salt (to taste)
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Mexican Rice (Makes 1 cup)
1/3 cup uncooked long-grain rice
2 garlic cloves (diced)
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tbsp red onion (chopped)
2 1/2 tbsp tomato sauce
2/3 cups chicken broth
kosher salt (to taste)
fresh crack pepper (to taste)
1 tbsp olive oil

Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tbsp buttermilk
1-2 tbsp gold tequila
1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp fresh baby dill
1/4-1/2 tsp hot sauce to taste
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
kosher salt (to taste)
fresh crack pepper (to taste)

Dressing
Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl, cover and chill until ready to use.

Mexican Rice
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once heated add rice, garlic, salt and cumin, cooking for 7 minutes, stirring constantly or until puffed and golden. Fold in onions and cook until tender (5-7 minutes.) Stir in tomato sauce and chicken broth, turn heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Once rolling boil is reached, reduce the heat to low, cover with a crack in the lid and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork before using. Keep warm until ready to use (unless chilling.)

Fajita Meat
Place skirt steak in a large sealable container and freshly squeeze juices from fruit over meat. Add Mezcal (or tequila,) sprinkle fresh cilantro and all vegetables, seal and marinate for 3 hours.
Preheat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.

Remove meat and vegetables from container, sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh crack pepper. Cook meat and vegetables for 6-8 minutes stirring often or until meat is cooked through. (Be careful not to over cook and dry out the meat!) Keep warm until ready to use (unless chilling.)

Salad
Toast your tostadas for 1-2 minutes per side under the broiler. Break two of them down the middle, break one and a half of them into small tortilla chip sizes and the last half into little raisin sized pieces.

Now it is time to combine all of our hard work and make an amazing salad. In the bottom of a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish lay out the chip sized tostados until the bottom is covered. Sprinkle rice over tostadas chips followed by the beans and Mexicorn. Now squeeze or sprinkle your lime juice over the layers and crack fresh pepper over the top. Stick the 4 halved tostadas onto the sides of the dish (the corn/bean/rice mixture should keep them up.)

Lay slices of avocado over layers and sprinkle with cumin. Sprinkle your tomatoes and then cheese into layers. Cover those layers by spreading out the salad greens and baby spinach. Sprinkle fresh cilantro over greens and then sprinkle fajita meat mixture over the cilantro. Sprinkle the crumbled tostada pieces over the meat and drizzle with 3-4 tbsp dressing (if not chilling.)

Serve with warm items right away or chill 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!

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