Friday, June 3, 2011

Our New Favorite Salad Dressing

Costco had an El Torito Chicken Caesar Salad kit that was outstanding.  I was telling a friend about it and she said that her husband made the El Torito dressing from scratch a lot in the 90's.  She said it was SO good and that the recipe was on the internet.  Sure enough it was very easy to find.  The recipe looked like it was a little bit of a pain in the butt.  I was up to the challenge for a delicious salad dressing though.

I read the comments that came with the dressing recipe to make sure nothing negative was said.  The only comment I read that caught my eye was it made too much dressing.  The recipe makes a quart.  I make Ranch dressing quite a bit and that recipe makes 2 cups, which is the perfect amount.  I decided to halve the recipe from the get go.

My Notes:  Roasting a pepper at my house is kind of a pain.  My oven sets off the smoke alarm.  So, can't broil it.  I have a portable roaster, so I set it up under my exhaust fan above stove.  It took an hour to roast the pepper.  Next batch I started the BBQ and again it took about an hour to roast one stinkin pepper.  Next I put my comal (cast iron plate) on the stove and roasted the pepper.  It worked the best of all my attempts.  I suspect if you can use your broiler in the oven that might be the fastest.

Finding roasted pumpkin seeds out of the shell have been a challenge.  Still haven't found any.  Maybe the health food store?  In it's place I used roasted sunflower seeds.  That worked great.  I just recently sat a shelled some roasted pumpkin seeds I'll let you known if I notice a big difference.

Cotija cheese tastes to me like just very salty kind of flavorless cheese.  I did buy some and use it, but in the future I always have Parmesan on hand I will try that and let you know how that works out.

Cilantro is what really makes this dressing in my opinion.  Yes, take the time to wash and stem one whole bunch.  This is what gives the dressing its beautiful green color too.  The pepper does not make it that pretty green color.  My dad doesn't like cilantro and I was worried he wouldn't like the dressing.  We went camping and it was the only dressing choice.  He asked me what made the dressing green.  I lied like a rug and said it was the roasted pepper.  After I talked him down from a minor freak out that anaheim peppers were not "spicy hot" he enjoyed the dressing.  He didn't even mention it had cilantro in it.

So, all and all is this a healthy dressing no, but every now and then it's a great delicious choice.  I've found 2 cups serves about 12 people.  Now on to the dressing recipe.  The recipe I have below is already scaled down to the 2 cup proportion.  BTW it fits into my Ranch Dressing container perfect for pouring and keeping dressing mixed.  I see it every now and then at the grocery store by the Hidden Valley Ranch packets.  Tupperware also sells a similar container.

El Torito Cilantro and Pepita Salad Dressing

1 medium anaheim chilies, roasted, peeled and seeded
1/4 cup roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 garlic cloves, peeled
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces salad oil
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons grated Cotija cheese (you can also use Parmesan cheese if you cannot find Cotija)
1 bunch fresh cilantro, stemmed
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/8 cup water

Place all dressing ingredients except cilantro, mayonnaise and water in a blender of food processor.

Blend approximately 10 seconds, and then add cilantro little by little until blended smooth.

Depending on size of blender, it may be necessary to do in batches.

Place mayonnaise and water in a large stainless steel bowl, and mix with a wire whip until smooth.

Add the blended ingredients to the mayonnaise mixture, and mix thoroughly.

Place in an airtight container and refrigerate.

Will keep for three days.

No comments: