At Modern Market, the chefs make Guajillo Lime Vinaigrette for the restaurant's popular Mérida Salad.
The vinaigrette is so versatile that you can use it as a marinade and as enchilada sauce, according to chef Nate Weir, Modern Market's director of culinary, who devised the recipe. "You could also make a smaller amount and stir it into freshly diced tomato and make a really interesting tomato guajillo salsa," he says.
The recipe calls for both dried and fresh chilies that you can find in the Hispanic section of your local supermarket. When working with jalapeños, Weir advises wearing gloves and keeping your hands away from your face. "And if you can handle it, maybe taste a little sliver to see how spicy the chili is." A lot of the heat is concentrated in the seeds and white membrane, so he cautions that it's best to remove them.
As for the vinaigrette, it's impossible to overblend, Weir says. "You'll want to leave it in the blender for a while and make sure it's nice and smooth."
If you'd like to make the pictured salad to go along with the vinaigrette, the ingredients are listed after the recipe.
Guajillo Lime Vinaigrette
Yield: 1 pint (8 servings)
1 small yellow onion, cut in half and peeled
½ jalapeño pepper, stem and seeds removed
4 garlic cloves
5 dried guajillo chilies
1-2 cups hot water
1 tbsp. oil, preferably extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. honey or agave
¼ bunch cilantro, about ¼ cup chopped
1 tsp. chili powder, dark
1 tsp. cumin, whole (can be substituted for ½ tsp. ground cumin)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt and pepper (or to taste)
1. After preheating oven broiler, place onion, jalapeño, and whole garlic cloves onto a roasting pan. Broil in oven, turning occasionally, until veggies are charred and softened. Remove from oven and allow about 30 minutes to cool to room temperature.
2. While onion mixture is roasting, quickly toast dried chilies in the hot oven, about 20 seconds. This step makes the chilies more pliable and intensifies the flavor. Trim away stem, and then remove as many seeds as possible.
3. Place toasted chilies into a heat safe container, then cover with as much hot water as needed. Cover and let chilies steep while onion mixture is cooling.
4. Measure all remaining ingredients into a blender. Then, add cooled, roasted vegetables. Measure 1/2 cup of the chili water, then add to blender along with soaked chilies, discarding the remaining water. Blend on high speed until smooth and combined. Once your salad dressing is blended, give it a taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. You can add a little vinegar for more acidity, more salt for less acidity or more water if it’s too thick. Store your at-home guajillo lime vinaigrette dressing in the fridge for up to one week.
Mérida Salad: Romaine lettuce, roasted chicken, adzuki beans, roasted corn, pickled onion, blue corn strips, cotija cheese and avocado.