In anticipation of the Topopo Salad

Most of what we grow in the summer doesn’t go into the ground until mid-to-late May because of the threat of frost in this region. However, there is still plenty to plant after the ground has thawed and the soil can be worked. Over the last couple of weeks we planted all of our lettuce, carrots, radishes, peas and onions.

Green onions, lettuce and peas

Green onions, lettuce and peas

Lettuce seeds sprouting

Lettuce seeds sprouting

What we have planted in the garden so far:

From Baker Creek:

Lincoln Garden Peas
Sugar Snap Snow Peas
Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
Siamese Dragon Stir Fry Mix
Red Romaine Lettuce
European Mesclun Salad
White Hailstone Radish
Early Scarlet Globe Radish
Amrarillo Yellow Carrots
Cosmic Purple Carrots

Sanguine Ameliore Lettuce – Seed Savers
Catalina Baby Leaf Spinach - Renee’s Garden
Extra Dwarf Pak Choy – Seeds we saved
Cilantro – Seeds we saved

From Downtown Home & Garden,
Ann Arbor, MI

Red onion sets
Stuttgarter onion sets
Yellow Rock onion sets

 

I noticed this week that they have all started to sprout and it has me pretty excited about salad season. The green onions, peas and lettuce will all be ready about the same time and you can bet I will be enjoying a very large plate of Topopo Salad! I first got turned onto this salad when I moved to East Lansing, MI and had dinner at a Mexican restaurant called, El Azteco.  “Topopo” means volcano and, when you order it at  El Azteco, you will get a giant plate mounded with this wonderful salad. Below is my version of their Topopo and, if you can find (or grow) fresh sweet peas, you will take this salad to another level. Shucking the peas can be a bit time consuming, but totally worth it in my opinion.

Sweet peas

Sweet peas

Topopo Salad

1 large head romaine lettuce, shredded or cut into small pieces
2 cups of blanched fresh or thawed frozen peas
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
1 -2 serrano or jalapeno chili peppers, finely chopped
(This is optional, but as a chili pepper lover, I add more)
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese (Queso Blanco)
Tortilla chips
(We make ours from fresh corn tortillas)
2 cups guacamole
3 cups refried beans

Dressing:

1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
pinch of sugar
Juice from half a lime

 

 

 

Romaine Lettuce, green onions and sweet peas

Romaine Lettuce, green onions and sweet peas

First, mix lettuce, peas, white cheese, chili peppers, green onions and tomatoes in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix oil, rice vinegar and sugar to create a vinaigrette dressing. Add a small  amount of vinaigrette to salad mixture. You are not really “dressing” this, just holding it together and adding a bit of flavor). Toss to coat very lightly with vinaigrette. You may decide that you want to use more dressing next time, but you really don’t want it to be more than a hint of background flavor and a binder for the salad ingredients.

On the bottom of a large plate, place a layer of tortilla chips. Layer warmed refried beans evenly over chips.  Spread guacamole and salsa over beans. Begin piling your salad mixture on top of the nachos to cover completely, gradually adding less and less as you build upwards to form a pyramid (looks a bit like a volcano). Serve with additional salsa on the side and a squeeze of lime if desired.

I absolutely adore this salad but ALWAYS end up with way more on my plate than I need. This recipe can feed up to 6 people.

Topopo Salad

Topopo Salad

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One Response to In anticipation of the Topopo Salad

  1. I really wish I hadn’t seen this as I really want one now!

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