Monday, March 8, 2010

Tequila Salad (?!?)

Sometimes the strangest things turn out to be real winners.

I recently acquired a complete set of 1975 Betty Crocker recipe cards, in a lovely avocado-green plastic box (the whole of which weighs a ton, and I should know because I have already dropped it on my toe!), and was looking for something actually edible, yet distinctly 70s, to bring to a pot luck last summer. Lo and Behold, in the “Flavors of the World” section, there was the comedic-sounding Tequila Salad.

Well, I thought to myself, this sounds so weird I just HAVE to make it! And, it turns out, it is nothing more than various citrus, avocado and canned pineapple cut up into a salad, and dressed with a margarita, to which salad oil has been added. Strange? Yes, but, surprisingly, WONDERFUL! And to my great amusement, before I revealed the Secret Ingredient, people kept saying: “Wow this tastes great, what is in this dressing? I don’t normally even LIKE salad…”

“Hah!” I said, “TEQUILA!” No WONDER you’re all so cheerful. Works every time!

This past weekend I made this dish for a friend’s birthday, and the salad was eaten up faster than the scrumptious Red Velvet cupcakes that another friend brought. Which reminds me, Red Velvet cupcakes are the ONLY variety of cupcake worth eating, and when made by this particular Southern Gentleman (who is an amazing baker), I declare they are worth more than gold! He and I had fun giggling over the fact that there was booze in the salad dressing, and over our shared love of the Great Ms. Paula Deen - not only her cooking (Butter! Bacon!) but also of her style (false eyelashes! Big Hair!).

The card reads: “a salad created from the flavors of the popular Mexican drink, the Margarita” copyright 1975 General Mills – Betty Crocker’s Step-by-Step recipes

Tequila Salad:

1 can (15 ¼ oz) slice pineapple, drained (reserve ¼ cup syrup)
¼ cup lime juice
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
2 Tbsp tequila
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
¼ tsp salt
3 medium avocados
Lime juice
2 large grapefruit
2 large oranges
Salad greens
Chopped walnuts

• Shake reserved pineapple syrup, ¼ cup lime juice, the sugar, tequila, oil and ¼ tsp salt in tightly covered container. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
• Cut avocados lengthwise in half; remove pits. Peel avocados; cut into ½-inch lieces. Sprinkle pieces with lime juice.
• Cut pineapple slices in half.
• Pare and section grapefruit and oranges; cut sections in half if desired.
• Just before serving, toss avocado pieces with pineapple and grapefruit and orange sections; place on salad greens.
• Sprinkle walnuts and salt over salad. Serve with dressing. (8 servings)

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