the appetizer:

Mexican cuisine combines the traditional indigenous foods of the Aztecs and Mayas, like chocolate, corn, tomato, avocado, beans and chile peppers, with the meats, rice and garlic brought to Mexico by the Spanish conquistadores.

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Tomato, Avocado and Chile Salad  


Summer Tomato, Avocado and Chile Salad

Serves 4 to 6

Some combinations are just perfect, like the flavors of garden-ripe tomato, avocado, sweet onion, and jalapeño. A splash of lime-and-garlic vinaigrette rounds out the flavors. Serve a big bowl of this salad along-side your favorite grill entree, especially chicken and fish. Mix different colors of tomatoes, if available. And use your very best olive oil.

1 small jalapeño chile with seeds, minced
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt, plus salt to taste
1/2 clove garlic, minced
2 large ripe tomatoes (about 1-3/4 pounds), cut into large chunks
1 small sweet onion such as Bermuda or Vidalia,
   sliced 1/4 inch thick and separated into rings
2 medium-sized, ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and cut lengthwise
    into slices about 3/8 inch thick
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish

In a small, nonreactive bowl, whisk together jalapeño, lime juice, oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and garlic. In a large serving bowl, toss vinaigrette with tomatoes and onion until well coated. Add the avocados and toss gently. Season generously with salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and serve.

La Parilla: The Mexican Grill
By Reed Hearon
Photographs by Laurie Smith
Chronicle Books, 1996
Price: $19.95, paper
ISBN: 0-8118-1034-8
Reprinted by permission


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This page modified January 2007