Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cilantro Pepita dressing (Mexican Caesar Salad dressing)

After making my Tequila Lime Chicken and adding it to a salad, we used a store-bought Thousand Island dressing, which was all we had in the fridge. It tasted okay. But I thought to myself that a creamy cilantro dressing would go great with this salad. So after searching online for a cilantro dressing, I found this awesome recipe on CDKitchen. It turns out, this was also the recipe for El Torito's Mexican Caesar Salad dressing, which I had when we last visited there with my office. SCORE! That visit to El Torito left me with a very lasting impression. From there, I was inspired to learn how to make my Chile Verde. Now I learned to make their salad dressing.

I had to go to 2 different stores to buy all the ingredients for this dressing. They don't normally sell Pepita (or shelled Pumpkin seeds) at the grocery store, so I went to a local Mediterranean market to buy some. Going to the Mediterranean market is always an adventure for me because I find a lot of unique ingredients not normally found at the regular grocery store.

Anyway, this dressing was delicious! Very flavorful. My next conquest from the El Torito menu will probably be their sweet corn cake. We'll see how that goes. Hubby loved this one and said it was restaurant quality. So this will definitely make it on my regular rotation.

2 medium Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded
1/3 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup oil (olive or vegetable)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
5 Tbsp. Cotija cheese
2 small bunches of cilantro, stemmed
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup water

1) In a blender or food processor, place all the ingredients except cilantro, mayonnaise and water. Blend for 10-15 seconds. Add cilantro a little at a time until blended smooth. Set aside.

2) In a stainless steel bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and water until smooth. Add the cilantro mixture into mayonnaise mixture and mix until well incorporated. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. Dressing will keep for about 3 days. Serve with chopped romaine lettuce, tomatoes, corn, avocado, crushed tortilla chips and crumbled cotija cheese.

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