Because I love the Mexican Chop Salad at El Vez, but don’t really like going to El Vez, I’ve been trying to replicate it on my own. And you know what, I’m really really close. I didn’t have any radish or jicama when I made this salad, but a 1/2 cup of either, chipped finely, would add great kick and extra crunchy texture.
Mexican Chop Salad
4 cups romaine lettuce, sliced very thinly
1 can (15.5 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped seeded tomato, or sliced cherry tomatoes
1 cup fresh (or frozen, thawed) roasted corn kernels, uncooked
Toss salad ingredients in a large bowl.
3 small corn tortillas, sliced thinly
vegetable or corn oil
1/2 cup queso fresco or goat feta, crumbled
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
Heat enough oil to fry the tortillas in a medium skillet. When the oil is hot (a flick of water should sizzle) carefully add half of the tortilla slices. Fry slowly, turning every few minutes. When they are golden brown, remove them from the pan with a slotted spatula and drain on paper towels. Fry the second batch, draining on the same towel. In a small skillet, heat just a dab of oil (or a spray of Pam) over medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and cumin, tossing to coat. Toast the seed gently until they brown slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool. Add 3/4 of both garnishes to the salad, reserving the rest for final garnishing.
cumin lime vinaigrette
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
large pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tbs. vegetable (or olive) oil
1 plum tomato, chopped, or 6 cherry tomatoes
Combine all of the salad ingredients and pulse in a blender or food processor until even in texture and the tomato is fully blended. Add the dressing the salad, toss well, and then top with the remaining garnish. Add a generous grind of fresh black pepper.