As the calendar flips from December to January, my dismay at how quickly the year has passed morphs into the joy of a new year. New year, new starts, new whatevers. It is good for me. Nothing actually changes, but my mind feels free and wide open. I’m glad the holidays are over. January is more my pace anyway. I should also disclose that I like Mondays too. So there’s that…
kaweah enjoyed our new year’s ski
No new snow (*sob*) at the resorts meant more time spent in the backcountry which meant more quality time with Kaweah. While I would never turn down a powder day at Vail or Breckenridge, I rather love the peaceful quiet, solitude, and natural beauty of our local trails. On a typical day of skiing the backcountry, we would come home and heat up a nice, hot meal of soup or chili or anything with good heat capacity. But this past week has been ridiculously warm and sunny, rising above freezing here in the mountains – which I’m pretty sure is illegal in the state of Colorado during the winter months. Instead of craving a warm bowl of something savory in my belly, I wanted a salad.
cheese, refritos, olives, salsa, fried corn tortillas, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, dressing
There are short tostadas and tall tostadas. The short ones, you can pick up and eat like a pizza. I have no interest in those. The tall ones are loaded with lettuce and are more of a salad than an item you pick up with your hands. I’ve had these mountainous salads in Southern California and recently enjoyed one at Pica’s here in Boulder and I love them. The big draw for me is the heaping pile of crunchy lettuce.
shredding lettuce (i’d rather be shredding the slopes)
just enough to coat
I use romaine lettuce because of its firmness and texture. I don’t think I’ve purchased iceberg lettuce in over a decade if not longer. The lettuce is usually dressed in a light vinaigrette. It’s easy enough to whip up your own, but you can also use any dressing you prefer. I like the dijon vinaigrette, myself.
toss the lettuce, tomatoes, and olives together
spread a few spoonfuls of refritos on the tortilla
The best thing about this recipe is the flexibility of it all. Don’t like olives? Omit them. Want to add jalapeños? Go for it! And nearly everything can be sourced from scratch or bought prepared from the store. I fry my corn tortillas because I buy organic (just set in an inch of hot vegetable oil for 20 seconds or more until crisp). If you don’t want to do that, if you can’t find fried tortillas, if you want something super quick – use tortilla chips, yo. Refritos (refried beans)? From scratch or store-bought or whole beans – you’re choice. Same for salsa or guacamole. Want to add chicken, beef, pork, seafood? Right on. See what I mean? Lots of options to satisfy everyone. I try to keep mine simple.
load up the vegetables
top with avocado (or guacamole) and a little cheese
It’s an easy meal to slap together and tremendously forgiving if you don’t have everything on hand. And it satisfies my craving for greens and crunch (I like crunchy things, if that wasn’t obvious)! Don’t forget a spoonful of salsa on top for that zippy finish.
there’s a fiesta in my mouth!
1 small head romaine lettuce, shredded
1-2 medium tomatoes, diced
2 tbsps black olives, sliced
2 tbsps dressing of your choice (I like this dijon vinaigrette)
1 corn tortilla, fried
2-3 tbsps refritos (refried beans), warmed
1/4 avocado, pitted and diced (or spoonful of guacamole)
1-2 tbsps cheddar cheese, shredded or queso blanco, crumbled
1-2 tbsps salsa
Place the lettuce, tomatoes, and olives in a medium bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and then toss to evenly coat everything. Set the fried corn tortilla on a plate and spread the refritos evenly over the tortilla. Pile the salad over the refritos. Sprinkle the avocado and cheese over the lettuce. Top with a dollop of salsa. Serves 1.