This salad of awesomeness is my new favourite salad in the whole-wide world. And I’m not just saying that cause my BFF gave me the idea, alright?
Meal starter, main course, midnight snack — this salad can do it all — it’s delicious, adaptable and, like I said, awesome. Did I mention I love it?
My inspiration came from a description of a tasty appetizer served at my oldest friend’s favourite Peruvian restaurant in San Francisco.
“Crunchy chickpeas with blackened giant corn kernels, red onions and crumbly cheese,” she said. “It’s soooooo good.”
I came back with this. I’m not sure if the original dish had a bed of greens underneath, but it seemed the right thing to do. I picked a triumvirate of hearty winter greens. Feel free to copy mine, or go out on a limb and choose your own. Sorrel, if you’ve got it, would be a very nice addition.
The secret to making this the best salad ever is to ensure you’ve got the chickpeas crispy on the outside and melty in the middle. That takes a good amount of hot oil and patience. A couple of more minutes in the pan won’t hurt anyone, right?
It looks like a lot of work for a salad…but everything in this recipe can be prepped ahead and kept in the fridge, except for the chickpeas. When you’re ready to serve, toss the greens in the dressing and plate, along with the corn and red onions. Top with the sizzling chickpeas and garnish with cheese. Voila. :D
(Click on the title for a printable version of the recipe.)
Serves 4 as a large first course.
: AKA The Salad of Awesomeness. My creation based on a description of my BFF’s favourite appetizer in the Whole Wide World, found in a little Peruvian restaurant in San Fran. Word.
- Cumin Seeds – 15 ml (1 Tble)
- Jalapeno Pepper – 1
- Vegetable Oil – 80 ml (⅓ Cup) (I use half sunflower/half extra virgin olive oil)
- Lime Juice, freshly squeezed – 60 ml (¼ Cup)
- Cilantro, finely chopped – 30 ml (2 Tble)
- Honey or Sugar – 5 ml (1 tsp)
- Dijon Mustard – 5 ml (1 tsp)
- Cayenne Pepper – 3 ml (½ tsp)
- s+p – to taste
- Vegetable Oil (for frying) – about ⅓ cup
- Large Corn Kernels – ½ can
- Chickpeas, canned or prepared dry – 500 ml (2 cups)
- Romaine Lettuce, chopped – ½ head
- Spinach, chopped – ½ bunch
- Radicchio, chopped – ½ head
- Queso Blanco – 125 g (1/4 lb)
- Red Onion, sliced thinly – ½ small
- s+p – to taste
- Make the salad dressing: Toast the cumin seeds in a small, dry heavy-weight pan over medium heat until fragrant, 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat, grind roughly in a coffee grinder and set aside.
- In the same small pan, blacken the skin of the jalapeno on all sides until softened, about 10 minutes. Remove and discard the skin, seeds and pith, then chop finely.
- In a small jar, combine 1½ tsp cumin seeds, the jalapeno and the remaining ingredients. Shake until well combined and taste. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Assemble the salad: Drain the corn and chickpeas. Dry well with clean dish or paper towel.
- In a large bowl, toss the romaine, spinach and radicchio with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- In the same pan you used for the jalapeno, heat 1 tsp oil on med-high heat until shimmering. Add the corn, season, and cook, without disturbing, until dark brown, about 3-5 minutes. Turn and cook until blackened on all sides, about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat ⅛” oil in a large heavy-weight pan on med-high heat until shimmering. Add the chickpeas, season with salt, pepper and 1 tsp cumin seeds. Cook, undisturbed, until golden, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook until golden on all sides, about 5 more minutes. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Toss the greens with just enough dressing to make it glisten, about 3 tablespoons. Arrange a handful of the dressed greens in the centre of each plate. Divide the corn on the plates, pile the chickpeas in the centre of each plate, then garnish with red onion rings and crumbled queso.
- Dust the plates with the remaining cumin seeds and serve.
- The remaining dressing will keep in the fridge for 3 days.
- If, like me, you can’t buy queso blanco in your local grocery store, you can make this crumbly, mild cheese at home with very little work. Check out the recipe that I used.
Preparation time: 45 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Diet tags: Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 4 as a big first course
Copyright © 2009-2012 Island Vittles/Theresa Carle-Sanders. Don’t Steal – Karma’s Real.