Salpicon Recipe

Christina Salas-Porras Cardoza and her mother.

Christina Salas-Porras Cardoza and her mother. Courtesy Christina Salas-Porras Cardoza hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy Christina Salas-Porras Cardoza

Here is one of Christina Salas-Porras Cardoza's mother's favorite recipes.

Salpicon is a great choice for a party because it is made ahead of time. It takes about 6 hours to make (during 4 to 5 of them, the meat cooks on its own). If you give yourself plenty of time, it is very simple and definitely worth the effort.

  

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt

4-6 lbs. of boneless brisket

2 large white onions

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican

For the dressing

One 7-ounce can chipotle chilies en adobo

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

Salt

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium red onion, diced

3/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

For Serving

3 medium-ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges

2 avocados, cut into wedges

2 heads romaine lettuce, washed and serrated into leaves, tough outer leaves discarded

1 bunch radishes, trimmed and cut in to thin slices, chilled in ice water, and drained.

To prepare the brisket

Place a deep, large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil. Slat the brisket liberally then brown for 7 to 10 minutes on each side.

Add the onions to the skillet. Lower the heat to medium and add enough water to cover the meat. Add the bay leaf and oregano and stir well to combine. Simmer gently for 4 to 6 hours (depending upon the thickness and tenderness of the meat), until the brisket is very tender and shreds easily when coaxed with a fork. (Note: If the ends of the brisket are not as wide as the center, they will cook more quickly. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board after about 3 1/2 hours and, if they seem done and easy to shred, slice off the end pieces. Place the center cut back into the braising liquid and continue to cook until the meat can be easily shredded with a fork. Set the ends aside.)

When the brisket is done, remove it from the pan and place it on a cutting board with a lip, so the juices will not run off. Let it cool for about 30 minutes, then remove any remaining large amounts of fat and discard. Shred the meat (including the end pieces if removed from the cooking liquid earlier) with two forks or your fingers. Cut the shred into one-inch-long strips. Place the meat in a large bowl and set aside.

To make the dressing

Drain the chipotles, reserving the adobo sauce in the can. Chop the chipotles and mix them with the oil, lime juice, vinegar, salt to taste, and garlic. Taste the dressing. If it is not spicy enough, add a little of the reserved adobo sauce.

Fold three-quarters of this mixture into the shredded beef. The salipcon should not be dry, but should not be swimming in the dressing, either. If you think the remaining dressing is necessary, add it now. Stir in the onions and cilantro. (The dish can be made up to a day ahead of time up to this point and refrigerated.)

To serve

Thirty minutes before serving, take the salpicon out of the refrigerator, taste for seasoning, and gently stir in the tomatoes and the avocados. Arrange the salpicon on a large, white platter lined with a bed of crisp romaine leaves. Scatter the radishes over the top.

From Peggy Knickerbocker's James Beard Award-winning book, Simple Soirees: Seasonal Menus for Sensational Dinner Parties.

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