When it gets hot in Spain we avoid eating hot food and turn our attention towards things that are eaten cold. You might have heard about gazpacho or salmorejo!
Then there is the “plato de verano”, which literally means “summer’s dish”. It’s not a unique recipe, but a way of describing “something somewhat substantial that you eat cold”. It depends on the cook and whatever is available on the day.
My recipe provides a good balance between sharpness, oiliness, savouriness, softness and crunchiness so that it’s a pleasant and refreshing thing to eat, but without having to bite too much (too much effort if it’s very hot).
- Boiled potatoes (not to oblivion – they still need to keep some bite)
- Red pepper
- Sweet onion, salad onion or just white onion
- The ripest tomatoes you can find
- The nicest, juiciest olives you can find
- Optional: tuna tin
- Olive oil
Slice the onion thinly, and soak it in water to remove some of its “edge” while you prepare the rest of things.
Dice the potatoes and tomatoes, and add to a mixing bowl.
Slice the pepper into somewhat thin strips. Add to the mixing bowl.
If using the tuna, break into smallish chunks, and add to the mixing bowl (you don’t need to drain its oil if it’s conserved in oil—add it to the bowl too).
Drain the onions and add to the bowl.
Add the olives.
Add olive oil generously. Add vinegar miserly (i.e. just a dash) [* see below for more on why I say this].
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Mix everything well together, and serve!
Note: if you were to prepare this for your lunch box, try using tuna tinned in water (not oil), and add the salt, pepper, oil and vinegar right before eating it. Otherwise things might get mushy and sad due to maceration…
Why did I say to be generous with oil and miser with vinegar?
There’s a classic saying in Spanish about dressing salads:
“Para aliñar bien hacen falta cuatro personas: un justo para la sal, un generoso para el aceite, un avaro para el vinagre y un loco para darle vueltas”Refranero popular
Or in English:
“You need four people to dress a salad: a fair person for the salt, a generous person for the oil, a miser for the vinegar and a mad one to mix it all”
And that’s why I was saying you had to be generous with oil and miserly with the vinegar 😉