This is another recipe from Mexican Made Easy, a current favorite show on FoodTV.  Marcela used it as part of hearty “Beef Tostadas“.  Salpicon brought childhood memories because my Mom used to make a similar dish called  “roupa velha”,  (ropa vieja in Spanish, old clothes or rags in English). The name describes the nature of the beef, shredded into pieces that are melt-in-your-mouth tender from a long, slow cooking.   My Mom used to make “roupa velha” with leftovers from pot roast, and served it as a braised dish piping hot over mashed potatoes or rice.  Confession from my young days:  I loved to have  “roupa velha”  as a sandwich.  All that tasty, saucy meat, served between slices of crusty baguette.  Maybe not appropriate to serve for company, but totally awesome!  Napkins were mandatory, though… 😉

(adapted from Marcela Valladolid)

One 2-pound boneless beef brisket
1 large white onion, quartered
Kosher salt
3/4 cup olive oil
6 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 tablespoons dried crumbled Mexican oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup seeded chopped cucumber
1 cup seeded chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup capers, drained (or to taste)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Put the brisket in a large pot and fill with enough water to cover the meat by an inch. Add the onion quarters and 1/4 cup of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer partially covered until the brisket is very tender, 2 and a half hours. Add more water if needed to keep the meat covered. Turn off the heat and let the brisket cool in the cooking liquid to room temperature. Drain the brisket, discard the water and cool completely.

Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking the olive oil and vinegar in a medium bowl until well combined. Add the lime juice, red onion and oregano and whisk again. Season with salt and pepper.

Shred the brisket into a large bowl. Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, capers, and cilantro and toss to combine. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  I was not sure if Phil would like this recipe, as beef salad is not something he would normally go for. To my delight, he absolutely loved it, and kept telling me to include salpicon in our regular rotation.  I suppose that every food blogger’s partner lives in fear of never tasting a dish again once it is published in the blog… 😉   No risk with this one,  because I already made it twice!  The second time I used top round, a cut that is not that popular for its fibrous nature, but  perfect for this dish.  I used my pressure cooker, and advise you to do the same if you have one and would like speeding up the process.  The recipe makes a pretty big batch, so leftovers were my lunch for several days. But, as  Marcela mentioned in the show, it’s great to have a batch of salpicon in the fridge for little snacks throughout the day.

I served salpicon with rice, refried beans, and slices of avocado, but I suggest you to stop by the FoodTV site and take a look at Marcela’s Tostadas.

ONE YEAR AGO: Pork Kebabs

TWO YEARS AGO: Fondant au Chocolat

THREE YEARS AGO: Got Spinach? Have a salad!

22 thoughts on “MARCELA’S SALPICON

    • No, not a misprint, it is the original recipe. The meat did not turn overly salty, keep in mind that all that cooking liquid will be discarded and not be part of the final dish. If you have a smaller piece of meat, reduce the salt, but you definitely have to season the water aggressively because there’s all that is there, apart from the onion.


  1. What a delightful recipe! Whether enjoyed freshly from the heat or later! Oops, won’t go into the 1/4 cup salt Q [no way!!!!] and have to admit that good old Australian fresh oregano will have to take the place of the Mexican [sorry to all my friends there !], but have bookmarked and am looking forwards to the ‘trial’ 🙂 !


    • Hello there! check my reply above about the salt – the meat won’t be salty in the end. The cooking liquid is drained off and the meat turns just right. I even added a little more salt in the end, because it needed, once all the veggies were incorporated.


  2. I love mandatory napkin food – the sloppier the better I say! ;-). Slow cooking meat at low temperatures does amazing things for taste and tenderness, doesn’t it? I did ribs last weekend – really basic – pot in stove – low temp, extended stay and honestly, they were some of the best tasting ribs we’ve ever had! This salad looks very yummy Sally.


    • Thanks for stopping by! It’s true that a change of flavor is always nice. I wish I was more adventurous and tried Japanese cooking, but that’s the one type of meal I reserve for restaurants… we do love our sushi!


    • When I worked at Stanford, we had a technician from Finland who was a character! At almost every meal at some point she would say “It goes better with bread!” – and she grabbed a huge chunk of bread and ate it with whatever it was her main dish. From fish to risotto, passing by meatloaf or crab cakes…. “It goes better with bread.. :-)”

      I wonder what happened to her, I lost contact but… still remember some of her lines – quite a few not fit to print, I should add 😉


  3. This sounds delicious and I think I would love it in a sandwich. In fact I know I would! And I had to laugh about the fear of not having a recipe once it’s been posted. I often feel that way about our own recipes. So much good food in the world and so little time. 😉


    • It is quite amazing indeed – so many recipes, just yesterday I was staring at my cookbooks and shaking my head in disbelief = how can a person have SO MANY cookbooks? If I live to be 100 I would not be able to cook from all of them, one recipe per day. Oh, well – I’m sure there are much worse obsessions in life 😉


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