taco salad

This is the salad served at the 1988 Family Thanksgiving Feast, which had a Southwest theme. If served today, I would replace the pork chorizo with “soyrizo” and use a fat-free vinaigrette.

  • ½ lb pork chorizo
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered, then thinly sliced
  • ½ lb cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 ancho or anaheim chiles, cut crosswise into rings, seeds removed
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves, chopped
  • 3 oz canned black sliced olives
  • 4 oz narrow corn chips
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup olive oil

Prepare the vinaigrette dressing ahead of time. Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, and wine in a jar. Add the mustard and pepper and shake until the mustard is dissolved. Add the olive oil and shake vigorously again. Refrigerate well. Shake before using.

Fry the chorizo until browned, crumbling the meat into fine granules. Remove with a slotted spoon onto paper towels to drain and remove as much grease as possible.

Assemble the salad greens, tomatoes, chiles, sage, and oregano. Sprinkle over the crumbled chorizo and cheese and drizzle on dressing, to taste. Toss and serve. Top each serving with corn chips.

Serves 8.

Lemon Lamb Avocado Greek Salad ☆

There is a Greek restaurant in my neighborhood. One of the first dishes I had there was an amazing salad made of lamb, avocado, tomatoes, red onion, olives, and feta. Loaded with Mediterranean flavors and creamy avocado, I deemed it to be a perfect addition to the summer dinner menu. Below is my recreation of that experience. Interestingly, the dressing here appears twice, first, as the marinate for the lamb, and then as the dressing.

  • 1½ lb leg of lamb, cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, in wedges
  • 2 seedless cucumbers, in ½” dice
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup kalamata olives, pitted, sliced
  • 1 large, just-ripe avocado
  • Lemon wedges

Combine the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, and thyme in a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the lamb, stir well to coat the pieces evenly, cover, and set aside.

Spray a heavy skillet with vegetable oil and char-grill the lamb for 3–6 minutes, until it is seared on all sides and cooked to your liking. Add a little of the marinade to the pan at the end and cook off the liquid. Transfer to a plate, cover and set aside to rest for 10 minutes. Discard the remaining marinade.

Meanwhile, in a large salad bowl combine olive oil, lemon juice, and herbs. Whisk this salad dressing well to meld the ingredients. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, feta cheese, and olives. Toss well to combine. Halve he avocado lengthwise, remove the seed, carefully scoop out the avocado, and roughly chop. Season taste and toss to combine. Fold in the lamb and its juices and serve on salad plates or bowls with lemon wedges.

Serves 4.