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Avocado and Tomatillo Salad

1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 loaf crusty French, Italian, or sourdough bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
salt to taste, plus 1 tsp
ground pepper to taste, plus 1/2 tsp
2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 cups red and/or yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
2 bunches cilantro, about 6 oz total weight, stemmed
5 tomatillos, husked and quartered
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp distilled white or white wine vinegar
lettuce leaves
6 green onions, thinly sliced

In a frying pan over medium heat, warm 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add the bread cubes and shake the pan to coat the cubes lightly on all sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, reduce the heat to medium-low, and toast, shaking the pan occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a bowl, combine the avocado, cherry tomatoes, and cilantro; set aside. In a blender or a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the tomatillos, lime juice, vinegar, the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, the 1 teaspoon salt, and the 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Blend well to form a smooth dressing.

Pour the dressing over the avocado mixture and toss lightly to mix. When almost fully mixed, add the croutons and continue to toss until all ingredients are evenly distributed.

To serve, line a platter or individual salad bowls with lettuce leaves and spoon the avocado mixture on top. Garnish with the green onions and serve immediately.

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