Sunday, February 20, 2011
Sombrero Salad from "Little Tampico" Restaurant
Ole Ole! This is my favorite salad in the world. It is featured on the menu at 'Little Tampico' on Main Street in Soquel, California. Our family went there at least once a month in the 90's. I got the Sombrero every time as part of a Fajita. Lauren always got a taco plate. My hubby got whatever he felt like at the moment--usually a pork burrito the size of a French bread! Honestly, their burritos are big enough to eat Alan! And he's not a little guy! Alas, the restaurant has changed the "Sombrero' recipe a bit through the years--no more grapefruit in the salad the last time I was there! They use tomatoes instead now, which you can do too, if you can't find pink grapefruit. But here is is as I remember it... magnifico!
Note: This is best and very pretty, served as a 'salade compose' which means it isn't tossed. So get out your salad platter or your individual plates before proceeding... Serves 4 (this can be a vegetarian summer lunch or dinner if you add sliced grilled chicken.)
1 head Romaine lettuce, washed, dried, ripped into pieces and crisped in the refrigerator
1 cup jicama, peeled and julienned (cut into sticks)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced
2 avocados, peeled and sliced
Optional Protein: grilled sliced chicken
1/2 C pine-nuts or toasted shelled sunflower seeds
2 large pink grapefruit , peeled, and sectioned
1T fresh prepared salsa
2 T washed, minced, fresh cilantro leaves
4 T white wine vinegar
4 T olive oil
2 t dried oregano (this is the key ingredient)
Salt to taste
Mix cilantro and salsa with oregano with the rest of the Vinaigrette ingredients separately in a small mixing bowl. Salt to taste. If you choose to use grilled chicken, use half of the vinaigrette to marinate raw chicken breasts in a separate small bowl for at least 30 minutes.
Compose salad on platter or plates by layering on ingredients in order of size, going from largest to smallest. First on the plate should be the lettuce, then sliced red bell pepper, avocado, jicama, oranges, and finally the mushrooms . Arrange them in a "wagon wheel" shape. Generously spoon grapefruit pulp on the very top of the composition, kind of like pink snow on a mountain peak. Finally, sprinkle on some pine nuts. Put 2-3 large spoonfuls of Salsa Vinaigrette on top of it all. Serve to 4 grinning people. Note: Needless to say, if you compose this earlier in the day to eat later, be sure and dunk your avocados in grapefruit or lemon juice before you put them on the plate (to avoid browning, 'natch). If you are adding chicken, grill it then slice one breast on top of each small salad in the wagon wheel shape.
Note: When making this for a crowd, I cut down on costs by just using lettuce, orange sections, jicama, cilantro and pine nuts with dressing. Less money, still good!