Friday, 16 May 2014
Andalusian Salad (a Spanish take on a Nicoise)
When ever you have people over for a barbecue, no doubt you always feel duty bound to provide a salad. But wouldn't it be nice if it actually got eaten rather than got thrown out at the end of the evening? A salad that tastes great? Really? Well try this one. I came across it last summer. My partner and I drove across Spain and ended up at my parents place in the South-East. We opted to go out to the "local" for dinner. It caters exclusively for farm hands and villagers and does not usually do food in the evening at all. When we went down there to ask if they could russel something up for us, there was a small handful of locals shouting at a football match on the tele, who at no time even notice that we had arrived. When we asked if we could eat, we were ferried into a side room (they turned the lights on as we walked in) and no sooner than we had started to chat over a bottle of wine, than this salad (below) was summoned out of thin air and put on our table (without any body needing to ask for it) while we chose what we wanted off the menu. I have to confess, it was the highlight. Yet another example of how some of the simplest things (a salad for heaven's sake!!) can taste fantastic if they are done well.
Do your self a favour - buy your fresh ingredients the same day you make your salad.
A Crispy, cone shaped lettuce (gem or similar), thinly sliced and washed
1 Chicory (also known as endives) thinly sliced and washed
1 celery stalk thinly sliced and washed
1 red pepper washed and cut into small cubes
1/2 a sweet white onion (or 3 spring onions) peeled and cut into thin slices
4 salad tomatoes washed and sliced
A jar of white artichokes cut into 1/4s
100g of green olives
a tin of tuna chunks
A handful of peanuts
4 sun dried tomatoes
1/2 a cucumber, skin cut off and thinly sliced
For your dressing:
3 table spoons of vegetable or sunflower oil (not olive oil as it has too strong a flavour)
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
1/2 a teaspoon of mustard powder
A pinch of Salt and pepper
Start by hard boiling your eggs. Put your pot of boiling water on the hob. Once the water is bubbling, pop your eggs in using a slotted spoon. Boil for exactly 10 minutes, then lift them out and put them in a bowl of iced water to cool them down.
The rest is so simple it hurts. Wash everything thoroughly and drain surplus water off. Put you shredded lettuce, chicory, cucumber, tomatoes, celery plus the olives and the white artichokes into your salad bowl, flake your tuna up and add in, and mix the whole lot up thoroughly. Sprinkle your peanuts over the top (some grated cheese as well if you fancy it). Shell and slice your hard boiled eggs and lay the slices, along with your sun dried tomatoes over the top. Season with salt and papper. Either serve straight away, or refrigerate for up to an hour before hand. But don't leave it hanging around. The freshness is part of what makes it good.
Now make the dressing - put the oil, the vinegar, the mustard powder, the salt and the pepper into a small bowl. Grab a whisk and batter the hell out of it. Until it turns into a viscous, cloudy liquid. Genuinely that simple - it makes you wonder why you ever pay for bottles of the stuff from super market really?
Taxing isn't it? - but don't under estimate how good something so simple can be. And I bet it all gets eaten!