Recipe: Christmas Salad

Merry Christmas, dear strangers. I hope you’re cozy at home with your family or friends, and that your bellies and hearts are full. It’s been a quiet one for me here in Chico with my family — full of walks with the puppies, these caramels, and catching up with hometown friends. My mom made Canadian clam chowder for Christmas Eve dinner - simple, rich, and brothy, with no gucky ucky gloopiness or unnecessary ingredients. Just cream, bacon, clams, corn, and potatoes for the most part. Yum. 

This morning, after tearing apart our packages (Santa was good to me this year, check out my new left-handed Japanese knife!) we cooked up brunch - my mom had brought home some tamales a friend from work had made and asked me to make a side salad to complement them. This is what I came up with - enjoy!

Christmas 2013 Salad

To start, take any combination of a bowlful of finely chopped firm greens – I used one head of lacinato kale and a bag of chopped salad mix that contained red & green cabbage and romaine lettuce. You could use any combo you’d like - just don’t use spring greens, spinach, or any other green that lacks fortitude.

Next, peel and slice one jicama into matchsticks. Or cubes. Or hearts. Add it to the greens.

Then, cut away the peel & pith of one large grapefruit (or two small ones) and slice across the sections thinly. Add to bowl along with two avocados, sliced into thin strips.

For the cilantro & yogurt dressing:

This was a bit of an experiment, I’ll admit, so I didn’t measure anything. I’ll give you the estimates of how much I used, but please, feel free to play around. Dressing – salad, really – is super forgiving and doesn’t require any finicky measuring.

  • One head of cilantro, washed, stems removed
  • 3/4c greek yogurt
  • One healthy pour (about ¼ c) of good-quality olive oil (I always recommend Californian olive oils, especially for salads – they are so flavorful!)
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar (white wine, apple cider, or plain would work too)
  • 1 large garlic clove, pressed or finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • pinch of sugar or a drop of honey (optional)
  •  A few grinds of fresh black pepper

Put all ingredients into a small food processor or blender and whirr to your heart’s content. Pour over greens (start with just half, and add more if needed).

At this point, you could also have fun adding other things – toasted pepitas would work well, as would crumbled cotija cheese or even some black beans for a more substantial salad. I just left this one as-is and it was perfect.

I will be posting a menu & date for next month’s supper soon. In the meantime – be well!

Love, Sophie