While strolling through my local farmer’s market I found myself gathering ingredients to make a fresh, garden-inspired fruity salsa. But, I remembered I had a head of lettuce that absolutely needed to be used or it would rot a slow, slimy death in my crisper – ‘cause who knows when I would think of it again?  So, I changed my mind from making a sweet salsa to an inspired summer southwestern salad.  By playing with the same ingredient profile – mixing it up in a fun new way, it became a bright, groovy salad; a winner at  your next pot luck.

carlee southwestern summer salad (10)

Southwestern Summer Salad

1 head Romaine lettuce, sliced

1 cup cucumber, sliced and quartered ½ inch

1 cup red onion, thinly sliced

½ cup mixed baby bell peppers, sliced

1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup colorful mix of cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup nectarine or mango, sliced

8- 10 leaves basil, chiffonade – rolled leaves and then sliced thinly

Palmful of cilantro, minced

6-8 strands garlic chives, or regular chives, minced

Pinch of garlic powder and salt

Peach- Tomato Salsa Essence

Makes about 1 cup

1 large tomato, about 8 oz

1/3 cup diced onions

1 Tablespoon minced jalapeno

2 limes, zest and juice

1 lemon, zest and juice

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon sugar

2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon pepper

2-3 Tablespoons peach jam or apricot jam

Pinch of sumac, (optional)

Fried Tortilla Strips

4-5 small flour tortillas, sliced into ½ inch strips

1 cup canola oil

Directions

Wash and prep salad ingredients, dry well.

Sprinkle the black beans with a pinch of garlic powder and salt.

carlee southwestern summer salad (2)

carlee southwestern summer salad (5) carlee southwestern summer salad (4) carlee southwestern summer salad (3)

In a vita-mix blender or other powerful blender, combine the peach-tomato essence ingredients.  The amounts given are variable depending on the intensity of the flavors; the ripeness and sweetness of the tomato, the heat intensity of the jalapeno, or the tartness of your lemon and limes. So, as always, taste as you go.  The taste I was going for was a refined, bright, fruity- salsa essence; more tart than tomato-y with a slow, background heat from the jalapeno.

carlee southwestern summer salad (1)

Once the essence is well blended, strain through a sieve and place in the fridge until ready to use.

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Slice the tortillas into strips; heat the oil over medium-high heat. Gently brown the tortillas strips when the oil is hot, but not smoking. Drain on paper towels and salt immediately.

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Pull all the salad ingredients together in a lovely bowl with a drizzle of peach-tomato salsa essence and a smattering of fried tortilla strips.  Enjoy!

carlee southwestern summer salad (8)

Chef’s Notes

To make it a meal, serve with seared cilantro-lime marinated chicken, shrimp, scallops or mahi-mahi.

The peach-tomato salsa essence is also delicious on its own served as a gazpacho on a hot summer day.  Serve with a garnish of cilantro, lime wedges and grilled peaches or nectarines.

P.S. If you are wondering what fruit I am using in the aquamarine container that looks like an under ripe yellow, nectarine.  It’s actually a new fruit I found at the farmer’s market that is a cross between a nectarine and a mango.  It ripens to a yellow color like a mango and tastes sweet at first like a nectarine, but finishes like a ripe mango.  Totally cool new fruit!  Look for it at your farmer’s market.  Obviously, a nectarine, a mango or heck, a combination of both would work great as substitutes in this recipe.

carlee southwestern summer salad (9)

southwestern summer salad

Southwestern Summer Salad

Southwestern Summer Salad

Ingredients

  • Southwestern Summer Salad
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, sliced
  • 1 cup cucumber, sliced and quartered ½ inch
  • 1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup mixed baby bell peppers, sliced
  • 1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup colorful mix of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup nectarine or mango, sliced
  • 8- 10 leaves basil, chiffonade – rolled leaves and then sliced thinly
  • Palm-ful of cilantro, minced
  • 6-8 strands garlic chives, or regular chives, minced
  • Pinch of garlic powder and salt
  • Peach- Tomato Salsa Essence
  • Makes about 1 cup
  • 1 large tomato, about 8 oz
  • 1/3 cup diced onions
  • 1 Tablespoon minced jalapeno
  • 2 limes, zest and juice
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2-3 Tablespoons peach jam or apricot jam
  • Pinch of sumac, (optional)
  • Fried Tortilla Strips
  • 4-5 small flour tortillas, sliced into ½ inch strips
  • 1 cup canola oil

Instructions

  1. Directions
  2. Wash and prep salad ingredients, dry well.
  3. Sprinkle the black beans with a pinch of garlic powder and salt.
  4. In a vita-mix blender or other powerful blender, combine the peach-tomato essence ingredients. The amounts given are variable depending on the intensity of the flavors; the ripeness and sweetness of the tomato, the heat intensity of the jalapeno, or the tartness of your lemon and limes. So, as always, taste as you go. The tasteI was going for was a refined, bright, fruity- salsa essence; more tart than tomato-y with a slow, background heat from the jalapeno.
  5. Once the essence is well blended, strain through a sieve and place in the fridge until ready to use.
  6. Slice the tortillas into strips; heat the oil over medium-high heat. Gently brown the tortillas strips when the oil is hot, but not smoking. Drain on paper towels and salt immediately.
  7. Pull all the salad ingredients together in a lovely bowl with a drizzle of peach-tomato salsa essence and a smattering of fried tortilla strips. Enjoy!
http://www.howdoesshe.com/southwestern-summer-salad/

1 Comment
COMMENTS
  1. August 12th, 2013 at 11:49 am
    Stephanie says:
    As usual, my mouth is watering over this recipe and your photos. Can't wait to make this one!
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