“A recipe doesn’t have to be complicated to be indulgent,” she says. “Sprinkle a roast chicken with lavender, substitute dried cherries for raisins in a batch of oatmeal cookies, serve grilled salmon on a bed of arugula—all these things take almost no effort, yet they’ll make your otherwise ordinary dishes taste and feel like fancy food.” With a fresh, friendly, and encouraging voice and recipes that quickly and easily deliver casual elegance, Chef Hough makes creativity in the kitchen and delight at the table totally accessible to home chefs.
Her work has appeared in Bon Appétit, Cooking Light, Fine Cooking, Country Home, Clean Eating, and Napa Sonoma magazines. Her recent cookbook, “100 Perfect Pairings: Main Dishes to Enjoy with Wines You Love” was published in April 2011. Chef Hough also loves cooking with Live Gourmet lettuce and leafy greens, please enjoy her delicious recipe for Mini Butter Lettuce Taco Salads below.
Mini Butter Lettuce Taco Salads Recipe
• 2 6- to-7-inch yellow corn tortillas
• 1/2 cup canola or other flavorless oil
• 1 head Live Gourmet Living Butter Lettuce
• 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
• 8 ounces cooked chicken, shredded or cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 1 cup salsa
• 3 ounces queso fresco, crumbled (see note)
• 2 scallions, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
Instructions: Cut tortillas into 1/4-by-1 1/2-inch strips. In a 10-inch skillet over high heat, heat oil until a tortilla strip added to the skillet immediately sizzles. Add remaining strips and cook 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until golden and crisp (use a slotted spoon to turn occasionally). Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and generously sprinkle with salt. Set aside to cool.
Remove 4 large outer leaves from Live Gourmet Butter Lettuce and arrange on plates to resemble taco “shells.” Shred remaining lettuce, dividing it among plates. Top lettuce with beans, chicken, salsa, queso fresco, scallions, and tortilla strips, dividing ingredients evenly. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 as an appetizer.
Note: These first-course salads are topped with homemade tortilla strips. If you’re short on time, substitute crumbled chips. Queso fresco is a fresh, mild Mexican cheese. If you can’t find it at your supermarket, try a Latin market or substitute shredded Jack.