Monday, November 15, 2010

Ensalada a la Chilena

In the 4 months I have lived in Santiago, Chile, I have come to regard Chilean home food as simple.  There are no complicated cooking methods; there are no complex sauces or garnishes; there are no complex chopping techniques used to prepare the food.  What is special to me about Chilean food is the great combinations of different foods.  Chileans have wonderful dishes that are both easy and unique.  In fact, Chilean food is a brilliant inspiration for the college age cook.  Whenever I am served something delicious, I always wonder "Why did I think to do that?"

One of those dishes is the Chilean salad.  The thing about Chilean salads is that they do not follow the typical American mindset of lettuce, other vegetables, and dressing.  Chilean salads do not include lettuce most of the time and they never have anything more for dressing than lemon and salt.

The quintessential Chilean salad is Ensalada a la Chilena or Ensalada Chilena.  This is a great combination of sliced tomatoes, sliced raw onions, chopped cilantro, oil and salt.  To make the onions taste less sharp, the raw onions should be salted and rinsed with water to remove any bitterness.  Then, all the ingredients are thrown together to make an AMAZING salad.

For another adventurous salad, the onion, cilantro and salt combo can be used with peas instead of tomato as well.


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