Although some people will associate the Caesar Salad with Italian cooking, its true origins are in Tijuana, Mexico. We love the flavors of this updated Caesar Salad with kale for romaine lettuce, warm cotjia cheese croutons, and poached lemon peel.
Kale Caesar Salad
Serves 3 to 4
4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly on a mandoline
1 bunch organic, tender black (dino) kale, washed,
stems removed and torn into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup Caesar Dressing (see recipe)
30 threads Poached Lemon Peel (see recipe)
3 ounces cotija cheese, broken into crouton sized pieces*
Heat 1/2-inch of vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed skillet to 350 degrees F. Carefully drop garlic into oil, gently stir constantly until edges begin to brown. Remove immediately and drain on paper towel, salt to taste.
Using your hands massage the dressing into the kale, making sure to squeeze the greens in your hand so that you
really work in the dressing. Toss in the Poached Lemon Peels and crispy garlic chips. In the hot oil drop crouton size pieces of cotija into the fryer until golden brown. Drain on paper towel, and finish salad with warm cotjia croutons.
Poached Lemon Peel
3 lemons, washed in warm water
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 sprigs thyme
1/2 teapsoon salt
Remove zest from lemons without any of the bitter, white pith. Cut into 2-inch julienne strips. Bring remaining ingredients to a boil and add zest. Return to a boil, remove from heat and let sit at room temperature 20 minutes.
2 flat salted anchovies
1 to 2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine or cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Combine all ingredients except oil in a blender. Add oil slowly until emulsified. Add cheese and season liberally with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
* Cacique cheese is a great choice. We’ve been using them at Border Grill for over 20 years.
These amazingly flavorful quesadillas have always been a favorite at the restaurants. We also love making these earthy quesadillas with fresh corn tortillas.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 small onion, diced
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 pound white or shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 chile de arbol, stemmed, seeded and finely ground, or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 bunch epazote or parsley, leaves only, roughly chopped
3/4 cups grated manchego or Monterey Jack cheese*
1/2 cup grated panela cheese*
1/4 cup grated añejo, Parmesan or Romano cheese*
2 8-inch flour tortillas
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute the onions until they just begin to brown. Then stir in the garlic and cook until the aroma is released, about 1 minute longer. Add the mushrooms, salt, pepper and arbol chiles. Continue cooking until the mushrooms soften and excess juice evaporates, about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the epazote or parsley and briefly cook just to release its flavor, about a minute. Set aside to cool.
In a bowl, combine the 3 cheeses. Lay the tortillas out on a counter. Divide the cheese mixture into 2 portions and arrange one portion over half of each tortilla. Divide the mushroom mixture into 2 portions and sprinkle evenly over the cheese. Fold over each tortilla to enclose the filling.
Melt the remaining butter in a large skillet and place 2 folded quesadillas in the pan. Cook until very light golden, about 1 minute, then flip over. Cook until the other side is golden and the cheese begins to ooze. Serve hot, whole or cut into wedges.
* Cacique cheeses are a great choice. We’ve been using them at Border Grill for nearly 20 years.