Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Light Supper

Usually I'm not a salad dressing person. Vinaigrettes are often very difficult for me to eat because I have overly sensitive sour taste buds, so I always sweeten mine a bit with a squirt of honey or a spoonful of sugar or maple syrup, to temper the acidity and smooth out the flavors. But the usual way I make a salad is with no dressing at all or maybe a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. You may think that it would lack flavor this way, but when lots of delicious things are added, like avocado, blue cheese, nuts, radishes, onions, and other vegetables, the dressing is not missed at all.

But there is one particular dressing that is so delicious it really becomes the star of the salad. It is much like a Caesar salad dressing but made with Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) instead of pine nuts and a good handful of cilantro. When the ingredients are pulsed together in a blender, the dressing turns a delightful shade of pale green, and is quite thick and creamy; a perfect compliment to a sturdy Romain lettuce salad with grilled chicken, or it would make a fabulous dip for a crudites platter. Our salad tonight will have romaine lettuce, warm grilled chicken breast, sliced baked tortilla strips, avocado slices, a sprinkle of whole Pepitas, and the dressing. It should be both light and delicious!

Cilantro Pepita Dressing

1 large handful cilantro, leaves and stems, coarsely chopped
1/2 C mayo
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 C roasted Pepita seeds (hulled pumpkin seeds)
1/4 C Parmesan cheese (or Cotija which is a Mexican hard and crumbly cheese)
1/4 C white wine vinegar
water to thin, if necessary
salt and pepper

Pulse all the ingredients together in a blender until smooth, except the water. If dressing appears too thick, add water in a small drizzle through the hole in the lid of the blender while blender is whirring, until it is the consistency you desire. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over salad, or with cut vegetables for dipping.

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