Monday, March 8, 2010


I went to my Jacques Pepin cookbook for winter salad inspiration. He recommended Romaine, which I love, combined with radicchio, which I am growing to love. I have a soft spot for bitter produce. It's as if I admire them for daring to be bitter in a vegetal world filled with earthy and even sweet produce. Bitter. Hm.
Of course, any self-respecting cook should always make her own salad dressing. To dress this salad, JP asks his adherents to use salsa! What? It's JP, so I'll do what he says. He does say that you can use your favorite store-bought, but, again, any self-respecting cook will bust out the food processor and make her own. Gladly. While her son is watching Sesame Street.
It's not a hot salsa at all. When I make it again, I will use a hotter chile.

Salsa: 2cups diced tomatoes (with seeds and skin - about two large tomatoes), 1/4 cup mined jalapeno pepper (or serrano, or whichever you like best), 1/3 cup coarsely chopped red onion (rinsed under cold water to take the bite away), 1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro, 1T finely minced garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2T fresh lime juice, 3T ketchup (!), 2T water (I will omit this next time because tomatoes provide enough liquid).

Mix either using the chopping instructions above, or by throwing the ingredients in big chunks into the food processor and pulsing a few times.

For use as salad dressing: mix 1/4 cup salsa with 2T e.v. olive oil, 1.5 tsp. balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 cup cilantro.
The salsa was so tasty I used it to top my eggs the next day, and the day after and after. I added some Cholula hot sauce to kick it up a notch.

I served the salad with a Mexican lasagna. Josh said that this dish "messed with [his] head." Meaning, as you bite into it and your brain says "lasagna," your taste buds scream "chili." There is cumin, chili powder and Mexican oregano, plus a little hot sauce. I made it with beef and mixed "Mexican" cheese. And you gotta love those no-boil lasagna noodles. Fabulous!

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