You have got to make this salad. Everyone that has tried it at my table, leaves with a recipe for making it at home and then repeats it incessantly. That’s how good it is. It will completely change the way you think about salads. Green, red, ivory and yellow. Smooth, juicy, firm and crunchy. Chunky all over and each chunk with a different flavor and texture that makes you want to keep on eating eat although you may be so full.
Pairing ripe, buttery lightly nutty and soft avocados with the firm yet soft hearts of palm has been a tradition in my family, for special occasions. Hearts of Palm are called Palmitos in Spanish, which translates to Little Palm Trees. I have a hard time containing myself from eating the hearts if palm as I slice them for this salad, so I always plan on buying double. In fact, each ingredients in this recipe is so tasty on its own, that once could say the same thing about each. Now put them all together: It is a hit.
Crunchy Pumpkin seeds just bring a last touch of delight to this already splendid salad. I put it together for a class I taught on Avocados. And I haven’t stopped making it ever since. This can be served as a main salad with a side of toast, pita bread or as a side to chicken, meat or fish.
For the Vinaigrette
1. To make the vinaigrette, pour the vinegar and lime juice in a small bowl. Add oregano, salt sugar and black pepper. Pour the oils in a slow stream, whisking with a whisk or fork to emulsify. The vinaigrette can be made a day ahead of time, just emulsify before using.
2. To toast the pumpkin seeds, place them in an already hot small saute pan, set over medium heat. Stir often, being careful not to burn them, until you start to hear popping sounds (similar to pop corn), and they begin to acquire a nice tanned color, about 4 to 5 minutes later. Remove from heat and place in a bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, gently mix the avocado chunks, hearts of palm slices, corn kernels, cherry tomatoes and red onion with the vinaigrette. Sprinkle with the toasted pumpkin seeds and serve.
This salad can be served as a main salad with a side of toast or pita bread, or it can be served as a side salad to grilled chicken, fish or meat.
Pati's Mexican Table: The Secrets of Real Mexican Home Cooking by Pati Jinich. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (March 5, 2013) Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Andrea Reusing is the creator of the restaurant Lantern in Chapel Hill, N.C., and author of the book Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes. In this installment of The Key 3, she shares with Lynne Rossetto Kasper the techniques behind three of her favorite recipes: Turnip Soup, Overnight Braised Short Ribs and Tomato Salad.