By Gwen Ashley Walters
Cabo Chopped Salad
with Pepita Dressing
Las Ventanas al Paraiso, Los Cabos, Mexico
Chef Lippman created this salad to showcase the wonderful local produce in and around the Baja. There are three ingredients in this salad that you might not find. You can just omit them and still have a great salad. Cabuches are the blossoms found on the biznaga cacti, native to Mexico. Squash blossoms are the edible blossoms of both winter and summer squashes. Zucchini blossoms are popular in the Southwest. The nopal cactus pads are the tender young pads of a prickly pear cactus. Sometimes you can find it canned in specialty markets, although it is available fresh, more and more, especially in the Southwest. If you find fresh ones, see the note on preparing them.
6 cups organic mixed lettuces, roughly chopped
1/4 cup cabuches (see above)
1/2 cup chopped hearts of palm
1/2 cup tiny tomatoes (cherry, sugar plum, grape, etc.) halved
1 cup cooked corn kernels (from about 2 ears)
1 cup squash blossoms (see above)
1/2 cup chopped radishes (white, red, purple)
1/4 cup blanched, halved spring onions (or sliced scallions)
1/4 cup asparagus tips blanched and chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped grilled Nopal (see above and note below)
1/2 cup chopped mango
Combine all ingredients and toss with Pepita Dressing to taste.
Makes 3/4 cup
Pepitas are the long, dark green inner seed of a pumpkin seed. They are delicious toasted as a snack and I've even used them in a granola mix. Now we've found another use for them, in this tangy dressing for the Cabo Chopped Salad.
1/4 cup pepitas
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1. Rough chop pepitas in a food processor or blender. Add lime juice, salt, pepper and sugar. Process again.
2. Drizzle olive oil into the pepita mixture with the machine running. The mixture will thicken. Keeps 1 week in the refrigerator.
To prepare fresh nopal for the Cabo Chopped Salad, purchase 1 or 2 small, tender cactus pads. Using gloves, cut off the edge, all the way around. Scrape or cut off all the bumps on the flat surface on both sides of the pads, as these are where the thorns are. Some are very tiny so be sure to scrape the surface well. Nopals are similar to okra in that both have an internal substance that is gooey.
After the pads are cleaned, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill on a hot (400 degrees F.) grill about 1 minute per side. Cool and slice into strips and then chop for this salad.
Copyright © 2001, Gwen Ashley Walters. All rights reserved.
Gwen Ashley Walters is cookbook author, cooking teacher, food writer and Certified Culinary Professional with a degree in Culinary Arts. Gwen's travel guide/cookbooks, The Great Ranch Cookbook, (1998) and The Cool Mountain Cookbook, (2001) were published by Pen & Fork Communications.
This page created October 2001