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southwest caesar with turkey

sw caesar

So here are my feelings about Thanksgiving leftovers – I love having mass amounts of white meat leftover for turkey sandwiches, and it wouldn’t feel like Thanksgiving without all the fabulous turkey stock I make from the carcasses, but the rest of it… not so much!  To that end, I always make two turkeys, one is roasted the traditional way, and the second is always grilled or smoked. This year I wound up with 36 cups of a stock, happy day!

turkey stock

To use up all that dark turkey meat, I just make our family favorites and add in the turkey.  Our all-time favorite salad is another of Barbara Pool Fenzl’s recipes.  It comes from her 1994 Southwest The Beautiful Cookbook. I’ve made very few changes to the recipe over the years… instead of whisking by hand, I use a food processor for the dressing.

Since the original recipe makes about 1 1/3 cups of dressing, I double all the other fixings so that all that amazing dressing can be utilized, it would be shameful to waste even one drop!  Also in the original, the tortilla strips are dusted with chili powder prior to frying. Instead, I salt and dust them immediately after removing them from the hot oil so the seasoning really sticks to the strips. And with all this turkey on hand, it quickly becomes a perfect main course salad for a busy weeknight family dinner.

Southwestern Caesar Salad

(adapted from Southwest The Beautiful Cookbook by Barbara Pool Fenzl)

2 eggs
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons anchovy paste (or one whole anchovy)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup corn oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Vegetable oil, for frying
8 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
Chili powder

4 cups cooked and shredded turkey meat
2 avocados, peeled and diced
4 heads romaine lettuce, washed, spun dry, and torn into bite-size pieces
1 cup Parmesan cheese


Dressing: Place eggs in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove from water with a slotted spoon. Crack open into a bowl, discard egg whites, and place yolks in the bowl of a food processor or blender.  Add garlic, shallot, chipotle, mustard, vinegar, lime juice, anchovy paste, cumin, and cayenne to the yolks. Process for about 30 seconds.  With the machine running; add both oils through the feed tube and process just until the dressing is emulsified.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

frying tortillas

Pour vegetable oil into a small skillet to a depth of about 1/4 inch. Heat over medium-high heat.  Fry the tortilla strips in batches until they are crisp and lightly browned.  Remove with tongs to paper towels, and immediately sprinkle with salt and chili powder.

Place shredded turkey and avocado in a medium bowl and toss with 1/3 cup dressing, to lightly coat.  In a large serving bowl, toss romaine with the remaining dressing, and toss in the turkey.  Gently mix in the cheese and tortilla strips.

Serves 16

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1 comment

1 Ronnie Jaap { 11.30.09 at 9:05 AM }

I sure am glad that I made that extra turkey for our house!

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