Chef Paul Wilson's Taqueria is an homage to Mexico's most popular feel-good foods.
- 1/3 cup sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 2 fennel bulbs, finely shaved and tops roughly chopped
- 1 lb 5 oz baby short (Lebanese) cucumbers, peeled and sliced into 1/2 in. rounds
- 9 oz seedless white grapes, cut in half
- 1 oz lilliput capers (or baby capers)
- 1 large handful mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1 large handful bronzed fennel tops or dill, roughly chopped (optional)
- 5 fl oz zesty lime dressing (see below)
- 5 1/2 oz salted ricotta, finely chopped
- finely grated zest of 3 limes
- 10 fl oz freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 cup caster (superfine) sugar
- 11 fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
Make the Dressing
Combine the lime zest, 3 1/3 fl oz of the lime juice and the sugar in a small saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the zest is soft.
Transfer to a food processor or blender and process, gradually adding the olive oil and remaining juice, until emulsified. Season with salt. Makes 2 cups.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Make the Salad
Combine the sesame and chia seeds in a dry frying pan and cook over medium–low heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
Combine the cucumber, fennel, grapes, capers, mint and bronzed fennel tops in a bowl. Add the toasted seeds and pour in the dressing. Toss to combine.
Arrange on a serving plate and sprinkle with salted ricotta.
About this recipe
“Mexican cucumbers look really cool – they look like tiny striped watermelons and taste like a juicier cucumber. They are not easily available but you can substitute baby Lebanese (short) cucumbers, often sold as ‘qukes’. This salad typically includes beans and corn but here I have created a refreshing light alternative. I feel the role of the cucumber is to cool and make spicy foods more enjoyable. This salad is the perfect coolant for some Mexican heat.
We use [zesty lime] dressing for most of the dishes in our restaurant, as it is so fresh and uplifting. Boiling the zest really concentrates the flavour of the lime, which is so important in Latin cooking. This recipe makes more than you need for one recipe but it stores well and can be used in a wide range of salads and salsas.” – Paul Wilson
Recipes from Taqueria by Paul Wilson, Hardie Grant Books, 2017. Photography by Chris Middleton.