Well Friends, we have our first official recipe from Spain today! This tuna salad with roasted red peppers is one of the first things we ate when we visited, and is now a weekly staple– they serve it at the beach bars near our house! When we head to the beach after Jeff gets home from work and before dinnertime, we order this and a garlicky potato salad to hold us over. (Yes, I think I’ll feature the potatoes soon, too!)I love this Spanish tuna salad because it’s different from the types I have usually had– i.e., lots of tuna blended in with finely chopped or saucy ingredients, so that each bite tastes exactly the same as the next. There’s nothing wrong with the standard combinations, but this feels a lot more sophisticated, while being easier to make at the same time.
What I am discovering about the food where we live is that it’s really simple and rustic. Many dishes have only a handful of ingredients, and are minimally fussed with. Even the style of eating is different– one item is usually eaten at a time, with bites from different dishes rarely mixing. This is the opposite of how I generally serve food, but I feel like it’s a chance for me to learn some new things about cooking and eating.
Back to the salad. This is my version of what we get on a little plate at the beach. I have added at least one extra ingredient (parsley), and if I was not trying to practice some Spanish culinary restraint, I could have added more– I’ll suggest some ideas at the end for how to embellish a bit.
Spanish Tuna Salad With Roasted Red Peppers
What You’ll Need:
- two roasted red bell peppers, skins removed (yes, you can use store-bought)
- 1 medium-to-large white salad onion sliced in half and cut crosswise, to make half-rings
(Alternatively, you can use a regular yellow onion and soak the slices in water for half an hour, for the milder onion flavor we’re after.)
- a 5 oz. tin of tuna packed in olive oil (here’s a sustainable brand I can recommend)
This recipe will also work with mackerel, if you like, and sardines would be lovely as well.
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil– the fruitier, the better
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
In a pinch, you can substitute red wine vinegar, but it won’t be quite as smooth. I love sherry vinegar, and highly recommend that you try it!
- salt and pepper to taste
What to Do:
- Cut or pull apart the roasted peppers into 1/4 inch strips, and place them in your serving bowl.
- Add the sliced onions.
- Drain the tuna and carefully remove from the tin– you want to keep it in bigger chunks.
- Top with the parsley, and drizzle with olive oil and sherry, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Tenderly, mix the salad a bit so that the tuna and peppers and onions are somewhat evenly distributed. Again, easy does it, because you don’t want the tuna to disintegrate into flakes, but to stay in bigger chunks.
- Taste it, and adjust seasoning– vinegar and salt, in particular.
If you’d like, you can serve all of this on top of a bed of lettuce, to make it a fuller, more traditional salad. You’ll want to add more olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper for this, of course. You could also add one or all of the following: chickpeas, shaved fennel, arugula or cucumber. Enjoy!This is great as leftovers. I had it for lunch today (prepared and photographed and served at dinner yesterday) and it was so good, having had the time for the flavors to mingle a bit more.
I am so thrilled to be working with more Mediterranean flavors and ingredients. I feel like I have so much to learn (and share) and just can’t wait!
Tell me: Is there a Spanish dish you’d love to learn to make, or an ingredient you’d like to learn to use? Maybe I can track it down for you, and we can learn together!