Thursday, June 21, 2012

Aztec Legend and Tri-Color Salad

Continuing my "Inside Bbq Menu," I made "Tri-Color Salad with Lime-Honey Vinaigrette." I love this salad, with it's fresh green lettuce, juicy slices of tomato, slices of creamy avocado, crumbles of queso fresco cheese, all topped off with a sweet and tangy vinaigrette, all the colors of the flag of Mexico!

The flag of Mexico consists of three equal vertical stripes of green, white, and red, pretty typical of other flags. However, in the center of the flag is the Mexican coat of arms. According to Aztec legend, the Aztec people, who were a nomadic tribe, were wandering throughout Mexico, looking for a sign of the precise spot to build their empire. Their war god, Huitzilopochtli, had commanded them to find an eagle perched atop a prickly pear cactus (aka., nopal), growing on a rock that rises from a lake. After 200 years of wandering, they finally saw an eagle, with a snake, on a nopal, on a small island in the swampy Lake Texcoco. Here they built their capital, Tenochtitlan, modern day Mexico City! Well, you don't have to wait 200 years to enjoy this fabulous salad, which pairs well with Mexican food, or any other spicy cuisine, even barbecue!

Tri-Color Salad with Lime-Honey Vinaigrette

Serves 6-8

For the Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey or brown sugar (or more, to taste)
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons canola oil
5 tablespoons olive oil

For the Salad
2 Boston lettuce heads, leaves rinsed and drained
1 pound round tomatoes, about 2, quartered, seeded, and sliced
1 large avocado, halved, pitted, meat scooped out and sliced
8 ounces queso fresco cheese, may substitute farmers cheese
Optional ingredients: scallions, jicama, thinly sliced radishes (as I did here), etc.

For the Vinaigrette
Mix the lime juice, mustard, honey, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl and thoroughly mix with a whisk or fork. (Or use a food processor, blender, or lidded jar.) Slowly pour in the canola oil and olive oil, mixing continuously until emulsified. Use right away or store, covered, in the refrigerator. If refrigerated, mix thoroughly before using to re-emulsify.

For the Salad
Place the lettuce leaves and tomatoes in a salad bowl. Add some of the vinaigrette and gently toss, so that the salad is moist, but not soaked. Place the avocados and crumbled cheese on top. Drizzle some more vinaigrette on top and serve!

Recipe adapted from patismexicantable.

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