Makes about 1 1/2 cups pipián; 8 servings

Notes: If making dressing up to 1 day ahead, cover airtight and chill. Serve at room temperature. Buy romaine hearts or use tender inner leaves from heads of romaine lettuce.

How to Make It

Step 1

Discard chili stems. Shake out and discard chili seeds. Put chilies in a bowl and pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over them. Let stand until soft, 6 to 7 minutes.

Step 2

Meanwhile, in an 8- to 10-inch frying pan over high heat, stir or shake pumpkin seeds until they smell lightly toasted, 2 to 3 minutes.

Step 3

Put pumpkin seeds in a blender or food processor. Lift chilies from soaking liquid and add to blender. Add garlic, vinegar, tomatoes, and cilantro. Whirl, adding enough chili-soaking liquid (about 1/2 cup) to make pipián mixture thin enough to scoop but not drippy. Add salt to taste. Scrape pipián into a small bowl.

Step 4

Stand romaine lettuce leaves, stem ends down, in closely fitting bowl and drop ice cubes among the leaves to keep them crisp. To eat, scoop leaves into pipián dressing.

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