It’s now officially sundress weather here in the southwest! Time to break out the maxi dresses, tall wedges, a pair of ginormous sunglasses, and go have a walk around in the sun.
You know what else goes great with warm weather? A picnic! Perhaps even a back porch table picnic, complete with best friends.
Wow, this does sound like fun. Would you like to come over and join me? I will totally have you over to my house for lunch. The sky is bluer in Arizona, after all!
For our picnic, we will have to have something light and summery, and I can think of just the thing. If you happened to make the Summer Squash Quesadillas and Cilantro Lime Corn the other day (like me), you would even be mostly done with your list of ingredients. All you need is some tilapia, black beans, and lettuce.
And maybe some mango margaritas.
What can I say? If you give a moose a muffin… (or a Courtney a nice, sunny day…)
Makes about 4 entree salads
You can either make this salad using leftover ingredients from the quesadilla recipe, in any quantities you have them, or you can start from scratch with these ingredients:
4 tilapia fillets, fresh or frozen
2 summer squash, in green (zucchini) and yellow, sliced and quartered
About 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
Roasted garlic, minced
2 stalks green onions, diced
Large bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
About 5 ounces (or 1/2 a small bag of frozen corn)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
8 cups finely chopped romaine lettuce
3 wedges Laughing Cow’s light chipotle queso fresco
¼ tsp. Tabasco or similar hot sauce
1 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese
1 cubed avocado
1 lime, sliced into 6ths
alt, freshly ground pepper, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, cumin.
Pre-heat oven to 425 F. and heat a pan, sprayed with oil, on the stove to medium high. Coat a baking sheet with canola oil and place the fish fillets on top. Spray the fish with a bit of oil, and season with salt, freshly ground pepper, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and cumin. When the oven is heated, cook the fish for 9-10 minutes if fresh or thawed, and 13-15 minutes if frozen. When it is done, take the fish out and cover with foil until you are ready for it.
Prepare the dressing: combine the three queso wedges with 3-4 Tbsp. cool water, and ¼ tsp. Tabasco. Squeeze in 1/6 wedge of lime and add some freshly ground pepper. Whisk to combine and set aside.
Combine the zucchini and tomato with a sprinkling of cilantro and coat with a light, even amount of the spices, minus the cumin. Mix together and spread out on the preheated pan. Cook for 2 minutes or so before flipping to brown each side. Cook until the squash is tender, and then scoop it into a bowl.
Spray the pan again with oil. Add the corn to the hot pan, spreading out evenly, and roast for a minute or two to get the sides toasty and slightly blackened. Meanwhile, coat the top of the corn with spices. Again, I left out the cumin, but you feel free to add it if you like. Once you flip the corn to continue roasting, add the black beans, one of the chopped green onions, a bit of cilantro, and more spices. When all is warmed and cooked through, 2-3 minutes more, scoop out into a separate bowl.
Don’t forget to turn off the oven and stove, now, ya'hear?
It’s probably easiest to divide the ingredients among the bowls first, but you can also make a large serving bowl of it if you like.
Put 2 cups of lettuce on each plate. Then add a generous scoop of the beans and corn. Then the squash, then the fish, then finish with the queso dressing, and top with slices of avocado, cilantro sprigs, and a handful of shredded cheese. Finally, garnish with a lime wedge each for you and your guests to squeeze on top.
Serve with a summery or bubbly drink and lots of happy thoughts!