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Child Wedge Salad with Avocado and Salted Onions

Just three weeks ago, I lamented the mediocrity and retrospect of most meatless appetizers, so often tinkered with by other dishes. Because I love a twist, it just seems that this week I’m telling you about my favorite salad, which happens to be — you guessed it — cobbled on the sides of other dishes. I ordered it from a taco shop in our neighborhood before they changed the recipe, and even though I knew it was just the most filling salad, the pickled onions, sliced radishes, Pepitas and crumbled Cotija that they used to top their other offerings disguised as a salad, I didn’t care. Sometimes it works. Here he sings. It’s absolutely perfect: crispy, shiny, creamy and inhalable.

At home, I definitely zhuzh it more (a word that I just learned to spell to my delight) – I like to reheat Pepitas in oil until they become more crispy and fragrant. I add avocado, which I also did at home when we ordered it. Sometimes I get sweet and cut the iceberg lettuce into small wedges. I measure the toppings with my heart, but there are measurements underneath that work too. I don’t know about you, but I could and might try to eat this once a week forever.

Marinate onions: Mix red plonk vinegar, water, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and sugar or honey in a glass. Add the onion and shake to combine. You can soak this cucumber in the refrigerator for 1 hour and up to 5 days, but in 10-15 minutes it’s not bad at all. To speed up the loading, you can actually put it in the microwave for about 20 seconds (remove the lid, of course), then let it hang in the refrigerator until you’re ready.


Crispy Pepitas: Mix the Pepitas with 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a small frying pan and warm over medium heat. Let the Pepitas sizzle in the oil for 1 to 2 minutes, but watch them closely; raw ones may perhaps take longer, but already toasted ones take less time to darken a shade. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and let cool for a few minutes before using.

Assemble your salad: cut your iceberg in half, then cut each half into 4 wedges. Cut the corners into smaller triangles and keep the small pyramids intact as much as possible so that the baby corner looks like. Transfer them to your serving plate. Sprinkle the iceberg with avocado, then pour the Pepitas and their oil on top. Sprinkle with pickled onion rings and pour the vinegar brine left over the salad. Top with Cotija cheese and radishes. Season the whole dish with salt and pepper and eat immediately.

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