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The Spaniards eat salad.  They eat salad communally.  It’s usually served with simple,  seasonal ingredients, on a large plate set in the middle of the table.  They splash on a good sherry or red wine vinegar and always, always, always their best olive oil drizzled over.  It’s a thing of beauty.  You may not some unfamiliar ingredients here.  They are not as difficulty to find as they used to be, but you can always make some substitutions.  A bit about those ingredients…search out the marcona almonds.  They are more roundish and have a lovely rich, nutty flavor (go figure!).  Slivered or sliced regular almonds are decent, as long as they are toasted.  Most supermarkets have olive bars now and they have a decent selection.  Choose what you like.  In Spain and Portugal, they serve whole, un-pitted olives.  I’ll leave that choice up to you.  I usually used pit-in olives, but I always remind guests of that fact.  No one wants broken teeth.  It’s not a good look.  If you cannot find jamón Iberico, prosciutto is a decent substitute.  For the carrots and Manchego cheese, I used a vegetable peeler to make long, thin strips.  They’re much prettier and more dramatic than shreds…in this case a little drama in your life is a good thing!  Piquillo peppers are available in cans.  They are slightly sweet, with a bit of spiciness.  If you can’t find them, use roasted pepper strips, rather than raw.  I find raw can be too harsh.  If you want to make this a more substantial salad, add some excellent quality canned tuna or anchovies, and some well-drained and rinsed white kidney beans or garbanzo beans.  We have options, and options are a great thing to have.

I love to serve this on a large platter or shallow, wide-brimmed bowl.  I serve it as a composed salad—greens as the base, then add the other ingredients in the order given, strewn about, ending with the almonds, olives and eggs.  I’ve made a standard vinaigrette, with a hint of pimentón, to serve with it.  But, the Sweet Sherry Vinegar-Mustard Vinaigrette, the elixir for the Green Bean Salad, is very similar.  You should also feel free to go the simple vinegar, and excellent olive oil route, if you wish.

Spanish-Style Seasonal Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy-Peasy
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The point of this salad is to use the best seasonal ingredients available at the moment.

  • Vinaigrette:
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika (pimentón), optional
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey (optional)
  • 4-6 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/3-1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Autumn/Winter Version:
  • 4 cups lettuce, torn (I like romaine, red lettuce, celery leaves and arugula)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shaved with a peeler (about 8 strips)
  • 1 apple, cored and thinly sliced (Lucy Rose™ is lovely, but Fuji is good too)
  • 3 slices jamón Iberico, cut into long ribbons
  • 1 piquillo pepper, well-drained and cut into thin strips
  • Cabrales blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup Macrona almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • Handful of good-quality olives (I use pit-in, but pitted are fine, too)
  • 2 large hard-boiled eggs, quartered (or 8 hard-boiled quail eggs)
  • Spring/Summer Version:
  • 4 cups lettuce, torn (I like arugula, butter and red lettuces)
  • 6-8 strawberries (or 1 peach), sliced
  • 8-10 asparagus spears, roasted or steamed, cut into pieces
  • 3 slices jamón Iberico, cut into long ribbons
  • Aged Manchego cheese, shaved
  • 1/4 cup Macrona almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • Handful of good olives (I use pit-in, but pitted are fine, too)
  • 8 hard-boiled quail eggs (or 2 large hard-boiled eggs, quartered)

Place the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid; shake like mad.  This is best made the day before and refrigerated.  It will keep for at least 10 days.

For the salad:  Place the greens, torn into bite-sized pieces on a platter or very shallow bowl.  Top with the ingredients in the order given (more or less).  Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve immediately, as part of a larger communal meal.

NOTE:  The Lucy Rose® is a newer apple.  It has a nice sweet/tart flavor and beautiful deep pink flesh.  However, a Fuji, Gala, Pink Lady are all decent choices, as well as orange sections.  If you cannot find jamón Iberico, prosciutto is a decent substitute.  Regular slivered almonds toasted can be substituted for the Marcona almonds.

Spanish-Style Seasonal Salad Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2019.  All rights reserved.

Just to throw you another curve, you can omit the greens and simply use the other ingredients, if desired.  It’s about fresh and seasonal and delicious!