May-June 2011 | SPRING FIESTA

Creamy Balsamic Pasta Salad with Veggies
SPRING FIESTAGrilled Salmon TacosCorn Roasted SalsaShredded Chicken Tostadas with GuacamoleSPRING FIESTASPRING FIESTABrittany KrempelSPRING FIESTA

FLAVORS

SPRING FIESTA

Make the most of the season with a light and tasty Mexican-inspired feast

Written By: | Photographer: Stephen Cherry

ROASTED CORN SALSA
4 ears sweet corn, husked
1 small red onion, diced fine
4 large red tomatoes, seeded and diced
½ orange pepper, diced fine
½ yellow pepper, diced fine
½ of a large English (seedless) cucumber, diced fine
1 large jalapeno, minced fine
2 whole limes (zest and juice)
2 tbsp mirin
3 tbsp olive oil, plus some
for corn sauté
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
¼ cup scallions, sliced thinly
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Grill corn for a few minutes to impart flavor and color. If you cannot find fresh corn, substitute thawed frozen sweet corn, not canned, and skip the grilling step. Next, cut the corn carefully off the cob and sauté in a hot pan with 1 tsp of olive oil until it smells nutty and the corn starts caramelizing. Take off the heat and allow to cool. Meanwhile, combine the onions, peppers, jalapenos and cucumbers in a large bowl. Next, add the zest of one whole lime followed by the juice of that lime and the second lime. Add mirin, olive oil, cilantro, scallions and salt and pepper to taste. Finally, stir in the cooled corn. Serve with your favorite corn tortilla chips. For a new twist, put on top of grilled fish or chicken for a delicious entrée. 
 

 SHREDDED CHICKEN TOSTADAS WITH GUACAMOLE
4 chicken thighs
1 whole white onion, quartered
2 bay leaves
10 corn tortillas (cut in smaller circles using a cookie cutter)
Vegetable oil
2 large, ripe avocados, diced
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
¼ red onion, minced fine
1 lime
1 medium jalapeno, minced fine
3 tbsp sour cream
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
½ tomato, seeded and diced fine for garnish

Place chicken thighs, onion and bay leaves in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Simmer on medium-low for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is very tender. Remove from the water and cool on a plate until ready to use. In a frying pan, heat vegetable oil so as to be able to fry the tortilla rounds until golden brown and crisp. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel. Quickly salt them as soon as they come out of the oil. Shred the chicken on the plate and set aside.

Guacamole: In a bowl, combine avocado, tomato, red onion, jalapeno, juice of one lime, sour cream and cilantro. Mash slightly with a fork, trying to maintain large chunks of avocados. Salt and pepper to taste. To assemble, place a tostada chip on the plate, followed by 2 tablespoons or so of the shredded chicken, 1 tablespoon of guacamole, diced tomatoes and, if you like, cilantro.


CREAMY BALSAMIC PASTA SALAD WITH VEGGIES
1 lb box cavatappi pasta
¾ cup mayo
3 tbsp reduced balsamic vinegar
or balsamic glaze
2 tbsp mirin
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
½ cup seedless cucumber, diced
½ cup red or orange bell pepper, diced
3 scallions, sliced thin
¼ cup red onion, diced

Boil water in a large pot. Salt liberally (about 3 tablespoons) when it reaches a rolling boil. (This is your only opportunity to salt the pasta itself.) Cook pasta according to the directions on the box. In a large bowl, combine the mayo, reduced balsamic vinegar (heat regular balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan until its volume is reduced by half), mirin, salt and pepper. Fold in vegetables, scallions and follow up by tossing with the cooked pasta after you have drained and run under cold water.


GRILLED SALMON TACOS

1 lb fresh salmon
10 corn tortillas
½ cup shredded green cabbage
¼ of a thinly sliced red onion
Chopped cilantro
1 lime
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Finely diced tomato for garnish
Olive oil
Sour cream, if desired

Using a very sharp knife, remove the skin from your salmon on a plastic cutting board. Slice into thin strips and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Heat your grill or grill pan and sear the salmon strips quickly, making sure not to overcook and dry out. Set aside. On the same grill or grill pan, toss your corn tortillas on for about 20 seconds per side to warm up. Assemble your tacos by piling your ingredients, salmon, cabbage, red onion, cilantro and diced tomato in the center of the tortilla. You also may top with a squeeze of lime, diced tomato, cilantro and/or sour cream if desired.  You may even top with the roasted corn salsa.


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