Thursday, May 15, 2014

Summertime Taco Salad

Ingredients ready to assemble (Mis en place)
If you're looking for a great family-style Tex-Mex salad for summer, this is the one you're looking for. We were served this dish at a party 28 years ago. This was not a side dish as we thought. It was “the meal.” It takes a little time, it's not cheap, and has a whole lot of ingredients, but the expense and effort is worth it. But before we begin put on some good music to get you in the mood to cook. Since this is about retro food why not some retro music to go with it? If you've never heard of Freddie Fender or the Texas Tornado's before, head on over to YouTube and listen to Freddie perform "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights." Now mix up a pitcher of Margarita's, cook and listen:
Frozen Margarita and Strawberry Dacquiri
You're going to need some lettuce
Add Taco Seasonings
NOTE: *The taco seasoning packets can be found at your local grocery store. They make putting this salad together a piece of cake. You can also experiment on your own if you like with spices like chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, paprika, salt, black pepper, Mexican oregano and crushed red pepper flakes. You can also eliminate the plates and serve this salad in a grilled corn or flour tortilla.
It's a deconstructed Taco
1-1/2 lbs. ground chuck 80/20 
1 1.25 oz pkg. taco seasoning mix*
3/4 cup water
1 whole avocado, cut into slices
1 head Iceberg lettuce, shredded, or chopped
6 oz. cheddar cheese**, grated
1/2 cup French dressing
1/3 cup green taco sauce 
as needed red taco sauce
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 large tomato, chopped, or wedges
1 6 oz. can black olives, sliced, drained
11-1/2 oz. bag nacho cheese chips, crushed
as needed sour cream, for top
In a skillet brown the meat. Drain the grease from the meat and discard. To the well browned and drained ground beef add the contents of the taco seasoning package and 3/4 cup of water mixing well.
Add a dollop of taco sauce and sour cream

Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and set to the side and allow to cool. Wash and spin dry the lettuce. Cut or shred the lettuce. Set this to the side in a large salad bowl. Remove the skin and slice or chop the avocado. Chop the  onions and tomatoes. Slice the black olives and shred the cheese(s). Crush the nacho chips in the bag and set to the side. Once all of the prep work is completed, assemble the salad in the bowl, leaving out the nacho chips, red taco sauce and the sour cream until ready to serve. Chill the salad but keep in mind, the blended ingredients will wilt the lettuce and soften the crushed nachos. Prepare within an hour of serving. Mix the French dressing with the green taco sauce. Toss salad with the dressing.
Serve that salad!
Set out the sour cream and red and green taco sauces on the table for topping off individual servings.
One final note: This recipe makes a lot of salad. It may be cut in half if you desire. You may adjust to your own personal taste. This is Tex-Mex at its best. **Get creative and substitute the Cheddar cheese with Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or Mexican cheeses like Queso fresco, Queso añejo, Queso quesadilla. ENJOY!

© TMelle 2014

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