Sunday, August 10, 2014

Southwest Tomato and Squash Salad with Cotija

Yesterday I was making a grilled cheese sandwich, and I cut my left thumb.  I was using a serrated knife to cut a thin piece of hard cheese.  It was a recipe for disaster.  I was using my right hand to cut, but I was stabilizing the cheese with my left hand.

It didn't hurt much, but the cut was deeper than my usual kitchen knife wounds.  My bandage was dark red by this morning.  

It's ridiculous how many times I have cut or burned myself while cooking.  It doesn't happen all the time, but I'll injure myself in the kitchen at least once a year.  Luckily the injuries have all been minor.

I came up with this recipe because I had extra cotija cheese left from another salad I haven't posted yet. 

The ingredients are 2 zucchini squash, 1 yellow crookneck squash, extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon red chile powder, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 4 green onions, the zest and juice of a lime, salt, and pepper.

I cut the squashes into chunks and drizzled on extra virgin olive oil.

I sprinkled on 1/2 a teaspoon of cumin, 1/4 teaspoon of chile powder, 1/4 teaspoon of paprika, salt, and pepper before baking the squash for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

This is a cold salad so I let the squash cool completely before preparing the rest of the ingredients.  I chopped the tomatoes and green onions.

I added the cooked squash to the onions and tomatoes.  

I added the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, 1/4 teaspoon of paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon of red chile powder.  I also added more salt and pepper.

I added the zest and juice of the lime.

 After dishing up some of the vegetable salad, I garnished the dish with cotija cheese crumbles.

Cotija is a Mexican cow's milk cheese. It was named after a town in Michoacan state. There are two types of cotija: cotija de Montaña and tajo. The former is a drier, firmer, and saltier version. Tajo is moister and fattier. It holds its shape better.

I'm not sure the kind of cotija I used. The brand I bought at Safeway didn't say, but I would guess it was cotija de Montaña.

This was an excellent salad.  It is one of the best veggie recipes I have posted.

It was a little smokey from the cumin, and the red chile powder gave the dish a little heat.  I could taste the lime as well.  None of the flavors were overwhelming, but they were all present.  

The squash was still a little crisp.  It was light but satisfying.

It was a pleasant, refreshing salad with great flavors.  A great way to use any zucchini you might have hanging around.

I give this recipe two thumbs up!


Karen said...

Laura I'm so sorry about your thumb!! That's the worst. I am a huge wimp. Hope it heals up soon! PS this salad looks awesome!

laura said...

Thanks Karen! It's already feeling better :)