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Easy, eat-your-plate taco

PAM ANDERSON | 7/2/2010, 6:58 a.m.
Warm summer nights are perfect for this cool,...
A salad that you can eat, plate and all.

USA WEEKEND Food

Warm summer nights are perfect for this cool, satisfying and fun salad.Start with edible plates made from flour tortillas. That's the fun part.Next, choose your meat -- steak (skirt, hanger, New York strip, rib-eye and sirloin all work here) or chicken breasts or thighs -- or corn on the cob if you want to go meatless. Give the cuts or corn a quick rub and a little grill time. That's the satisfying part.Mix the salad ingredients and toss them with a simple dressing -- equal parts salsa, regular or verde, and reduced-fat sour cream. Now sit down and enjoy. That's the cool part.YIELD: 4 servings

4 flour tortillas, about 8 inches in diameter, pricked with a fork before baking

2 1/2 Tbs. olive oil

Kosher salt

1 Tb. each: garlic powder, ground cumin and dried oregano

1 pound steak, your choice, or boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, or 4 shucked ears of corn, halved crosswise

2 hearts of Romaine, halved, cored and coarsely chopped (8 cups)

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved and lightly salted

1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, cored and cut into short, thin strips

4 scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)

1 15 1/2-ounce can of black beans, drained

4 ounces grated pepper jack cheese (about 1 cup)

1/2 cup each: reduced-fat sour cream and prepared salsa verde or salsa, plus extra of both, as desired, for servingAdjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush both sides of the tortillas with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil and sprinkle with salt. Arrange on oven rack and bake, turning once, until crisp and golden brown, about 5 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the flip side (deflate any air pockets that may balloon during baking); set aside.Mix remaining oil with garlic powder, cumin and oregano; add steak, chicken or corn and rub to evenly coat, sprinkling with salt.Meanwhile, heat gas grill with all burners on high for about 10 minutes. Use a wire brush to clean grill rack, then use tongs to wipe a vegetable-oil-soaked rag over it. Close lid and return to temperature. Alternatively, build a hot charcoal fire. Place steak, chicken or corn on the hot racks; cover and grill, turning once, until well seared and cooked to desired doneness. Let rest for about 5 minutes, then cut into thin strips when assembling salad.Mix lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, scallions, black beans and cheese in a large bowl. Mix sour cream and salsa and add to salad; toss to coat. Heap a portion of salad onto each flour tortilla. Top with meat, chicken, or corn. Garnish if you like with a little extra sour cream and serve with additional salsa alongside.