Times like these are stress inducing, no doubt, and usually show up in the form of sleep interrupted. I wake up at odd times, my thoughts scampering off in ten different directions like a dog unleashed into an open field. Most of the time, they are too jumbled, schizophrenic and panicked. On rare occasions, I get an idea like I did the other morning.
It was somewhere between four and five a.m. when I awoke with a distinct thought to make a BLT salad with lemon buttermilk dressing and spicy pepitas. That was the exact thought, no kidding. So, I scribbled it onto the neverending list of recipe ideas and tried to get back to sleep for the love of GOD!!!
The idea does what it wants. I went to the kitchen the next day to sort it out.
For my BLT salad to be a good substitute, I needed a creamy component like I need a big glob of mayonnaise on a real BLT. I also needed more texture and crunch which is where my lovely pepitas come in.
Don't know what a pepita is?
It's short for the Mexican term "pepita de calabaza" which means "little seed of squash." You may know it as a pumpkin seed. BO-RING! Pepita has a much better ring to it, don't you think? Anything with an "-ita" sounds so festive to me- Margarita. Pepita. Senorita.
Anyways, with a name like pepita, I needed to add some kick. Hence, spicy pepitas. You're going to love-ita.
My dressing came out a little sweet which was fine considering it had to rub elbows with the spicy pepitas and salty bacon. Feel free to reduce the amount of honey you add to suit your tastes. You'll also notice that there is no oil in the dressing. I found that the yogurt emulsified the mixture better than olive oil which made a watery dressing.
Also, the red chili for the pepitas is the kind you find at your Indian grocery store, also known as Resham Patti. It's hot chiles ground to a fine powder, not the spice mixture for the American bowl of chili. For the salad, add whatever you like. I think avocadoes and cucumbers would be ace.
For the Salad:
A handful of mixed field greens
1 ripe tomato. cut into medium-size chunks
4 slices of uncured bacon, cooked crispy and chopped into bits
Toss field greens and tomatoes with dressing and arrange onto a plate. Top salad with bacon and pepitas and whatever other toppings that strike your fancy. Enjoy!
For the Dressing:
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons full fat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients together. The dressing should thicken up nicely. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Next time, I would add a pinch of cayenne to the dressing.
For the Pepitas:
1 cup pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)
1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
11/2 teaspoons red chili powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon zest, divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl combine olive oil, red chili powder, salt, lemon juice and half of lemon zest. Toss pepitas in mixture until well coated and spread into a single layer on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roast until golden, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle remaining lemon zest and a pinch of salt over roasted pepitas and store cooled pepitas in a container for future use. I like to eat them alone as a snack.