Side salads have long been sidekicks. But after hours of slaving over a home style hero, it’s easy to neglect the side salad’s potential and instead dress it with dignity-decreasing cucumbers and flat balsamic.
Overshadow no more!
Side salads present an opportunity to complement and even enhance the complexity of main dish flavors. Side salad super power must not be overlooked.
On a quest to find a mighty-enough match for Thinn’s enchiladas, I stumbled into the local tienda and found my hands on a knob of cotija — the Mexican curd-like cousin to Greek’s feta. The cotija’s subtle saltiness craved the earthiness of pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and sweetness of citrus. And so it ensued: a simple side salad with an abstract flavor spectrum worthy of sidekicking fish tacos, tortilla espanola or a punchy posole.
Thinn’s Arugula Citrus Salad with Cotija and Puffed Pepitas
1 bunch (~1/2 carton-size) arugula
handful raw unsalted pepitas
handful fresh cilantro
2 thumbs of cotija cheese
squeeze orange and lime juice over arugula and fold lettuce until evenly coated with citrus (add more if desired) > add finely chopped cilantro to dressed arugula and disperse evenly > meanwhile, in a non-stick pan (no oil!) toast your green pepitas until they tan and puff and pop > add enlarged pepitas to salad and top with crumbled cotija
Nutrition Facts Thinn Style
Modern herbalists prescribe arugula to aid with fiery digestion. Another sidekick super power for balancing super spicy Mexican food. But more impressive is the peppery leaf’s potential to motivate innate detoxifying enzymes in the body.
So tip back a Michelada and let the food do the work for you.