In New Mexico, we don’t care where you live. We don’t care what you do for a living. And we definitely don’t care what you got up to last weekend when you said you were ‘cleaning the garage’.
What do we care about? It’s simple. One question and one question only is on the lips of any self-respecting New Mexican: red or green? All we care about is chile. We eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Folks round here are divided into two camps – those who favor red chile and those who swear by green.
Scratch that – three camps. There are some chile lovers who simply can’t make up their minds. They love them both so that’s what we give them – red and green, or as we like to call it, Christmas.
For the Christmas lovers out there, we’ve got a Christmas Caesar salad. There is green chile in the salad dressing and red chile on the crispy croutons. And as if that’s not enough, we use two different red chiles. Over the top? Yep, so sue us. Cayenne or chile de arbol, gives heat, while New Mexico or chile molido adds a kinder, gentler warmth.
It’s salad so it’s good for you so go ahead and look smug, we don’t mind. Add some whole anchovies and halved hard boiled egg if you like and here’s a secret – we pick up the leaves and eat them with our fingers. Forget cutlery. We’re heathens but you know you love us.
Serves 2 as a lunch salad
For the dressing:
½ tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 ½ tsp whipping cream
¼- ½ tsp Green Jalapeño Chile Powder
For the salad:
1 large head of baby Romaine, about 8 oz., washed and dried
8-large shavings of parmesan (you can do this with a vegetable peeler)
Anchovy fillets in oil, optional
Hard boiled eggs, optional
For the croutons:
6 slices of baguette
2-2 ½ Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced to a pulp
New Mexico Red Chile/Chile Molido powder
Chile de Arbol/Cayenne chile powder
Combine all of the ingredients for the salad dressing. Whisk them like your life depended on it. Taste, season with salt, add some more chile – you know the drill. Set the dressing aside.
To make the croutons, mix the bashed garlic with the olive oil and brush over the baguette slices. Sprinkle each slice with a bit of chile de arbol and chile molido. Place the slices on a baking pan and broil for a minute or two until crisp.
While the bread is in the oven, make haste. Divide the leaves between two plates and do the same with the shaved parmesan. Add the halved hard boiled eggs and whole anchovies, if using.
Remove the pan from the oven, divide the slices between the two plates and drizzle over the dressing. Eat and be careful not to drip any dressing on that new linen shirt. Honestly, you can dress ‘em up but you can’t take ‘em out.
Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful. And, yes, I had to say it 3 times.