This year my jumbo jalapeno peppers grew so well. I’m still harvesting them along with Serranos and sweet bells. My grape and cherry tomatoes are still producing, too. So my goal is to make candied jalapeno peppers, and freeze the tomatoes.
But before I do any of that, I have to make a layered salad to tote to a family gathering. The hot peppers and tomatoes will be put to good use in it.
The one I’m making is a southwestern cornbread salad. With a definite Tex-Mex flavor, it’s the new generation cornbread salad. I had the salad at a recent party made by friend Denise Kelley, who gave it the southwestern twist. That salad looked like it came from a food magazine. You’ll get what I mean by checking out the photo. I had several helpings, it was that good.
Thinking a bit ahead, this is a yummy, do-ahead, filling side salad for a Halloween party.
Make it an appetizer by layering in a casserole. Let guests scoop with black and orange tortilla chips.
Or use a stemmed trifle bowl or glass bowl. Serve with a long handled spoon to dig deep for every layer of deliciousness.
Layered southwestern cornbread salad
Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients. It can, and should, be done ahead. I use the larger box of cornbread mix if I’m putting this in a casserole (like a 9×13). Here’s my adaptation of the recipe Denise shared.
1 pkg. spicy Ranch dressing mix
1-1/3 cups buttermilk or milk
1 cup mayonnaise
Pico de Gallo
6 Roma or equivalent other tomatoes, diced small
1 red, purple or white onion, diced small or 1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
1-2 jalapeno peppers, diced small
Fresh chopped cilantro to taste (save some for garnish)
Lime juice and garlic salt to taste
1 box cornbread mix, 8 oz. to 11 oz. or so, with up to 3 tablespoons taco seasoning added (optional) or Mexican cornbread mix, or homemade cornbread
3 generous cups frozen corn, cooked a bit and cooled or 2 cans corn or Mexi-Corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained, rinsed and drained again
1 can pinto or cannellini beans, drained
3 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
About 4 cups chopped Romaine or iceberg
1 pound fried bacon, crumbled
Sour cream for top
Make cornbread, cool and crumble.
Whisk dressing ingredients and refrigerate to thicken while preparing rest of ingredients.
Make Pico de Gallo.
Mix corn and beans together.
Divide all ingredients except sour cream into thirds – important for layering.
Layer in this order (but reserve a bit of bacon, tomatoes, onion and cheese for garnish or garnish with extra cilantro):
Lettuce, cornbread, bacon, corn bean mixture, Pico, dressing and cheese.
Repeat until ingredients are used.
Spread sour cream on top, then reserved Pico, bacon, cheese and cilantro for garnish. Refrigerate up to 12 hours. Serves 12-15.