Before I start sassing Thanksgiving feasts, let me first say that it IS my favorite holiday. Some of my favorite dishes come out to play for that one lovely day weekend and every turkey day I wonder why I never make sweet potato casserole or deviled eggs any other time during the year. I also love that we have friends over and that I don’t have to travel, since Christmas always seems to involve multiple hours of driving around North Carolina. Not that I don’t love coming ‘home’ for Christmas, but you know what I mean. You do, right?
What I don’t love about Thanksgiving is the fact that my stomach hurts for days afterwards from cramming every morsel of tasty food, savory and sweet, into my mouth for an entire weekend.
What also annoys me to no end is that, after enjoying a weekend of my favorite foods, I have to eat lettuce and pinky-sized pieces of meat in a meager attempt to make up for it.
That being said, the week after Thanksgiving is sorta like the week after vacation: light eating. Salad-eating. Lean cuisine-eating. Yeah - generally sub-par, unstimulating, sad sad food.
There are, of course, exceptions. And when I scanned through my pictures of the many many dishes I’ve yet to blog about, I found one of them. I do love avocado – as the staple of guacamole, cold avocado soup, served with ceviche, and chopped up on a salad. And now like this: chopped up on a salad AND pureed into a vinaigrette. Yeah, vinaigrette. You read right. A double dose of avocado.
Lovers of the oft-called alligator egg, this salad is for you.
Vinaigrette made with avocado infused with cilantro, pumpkin seeds, garlic and a little heat from a serrano chile. Vinaigrette tossed around a bowl of the greenest lettuce and the brightest tomatoes you can find. And what’s wrong with adding more avocado? And pumpkin seeds? Well, you have to add a little crunch, and these spicy pumpkin seeds do that and a lot more. Do yourself a favor and make some extra – or else you might just eat ‘em all before the salad’s ready.
Salad w/ Avocado-Lime Vinaigrette & Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
Adapted from Bon Appetit, September 2009; serves 4-8 depending on course
spicy pumpkin seeds
4 dried chile de arbol (or 1/2 t cayenne pepper)
2 t olive oil
1 c unsalted shelled raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 t sugar
1/2 t salt
9 T evoo
1/2 c diced avocado
1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 c fresh lime juice
1/4 c unsalted shelled raw pumpkin seeds, toasted
3 T distilled white vinegar
1 garlic clove
1 serrano chile, seeded or unseeded
1 5 oz pack mixed greens
2 avocados, halved & sliced
1 12 oz container cherry tomatoes, halved
1 med cucumber, diced
1 med jicama, 1/3″ sticks
1/2 med red onion, very thinly sliced
1 1/2 c crumbed cotija cheese (or feta)
spicy pumpkin seeds
pumpkin seeds: finely grind chiles in spice mill or with mortar and pestle. heat oil in large skillet over medium. add seeds and stir until toasted, about 5 minutes. seeds will make popping noises. sprinkle with sugar, salt, and 1/2 t chile de arbol. toss to coat and let cool.
vinaigrette: combine all ingredients for vinaigrette in mini blender and blend until smooth. season to taste with salt and pepper. will be slightly thicker than a typical vinaigrette.
salad: place greens in large bowl and add avocados, tomatoes, cucumber, jicama, and onion. toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. sprinkle with cheese and pepitas.