Monday, 22 August 2011
The easy season
Roll out those lazy hazy crazy days of summer... There´s nothing easier and better than a big warm salad to set off a barmy Algarvian evening. Salad needn´t be something cold and limp on the side. It can be comforting and warm, but it will lack the WOW factor if your ingredients aren´t top nosh.Sounds like teaching your grandmother to suck eggs, but its frightening how many, not just home cooks but restaurants too, get it so wrong. Choosing quality oil and vinegar is a good start. You don´t have to push the goat out, punish your purse and drizzle every other rocket leaf with estate bottled olive oil, but it should stand the "dipping in bread alone" test. The same applies to your vinegars, wine, sherry or balsamic. Beware of the school that throws everything but the kitchen sink into a bowl and calls it a salad. I was brought up as a child on vinegary beetroot, limp lettuce and something reminiscent of a snails trail of slimy salad cream resulting in a sort of savoury Eton Mess.Ingredients should be matched, as in all dishes, with care or else your salad will cause offence to its recipients and end up like John Galliano at a Bar Mitzvah.
A warm salad of potato, chouriço,
prawn and pimenton dulce (sweet smoked paprika)
1Kilo new potatoes
100g whole blanched Marcona* almonds
4 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1tablespoon La chinata pimenton dulce
300g best quality chouriço corrente ( semi-cured cooking chouriço )
cut on the diagonal into chunks
500g large prawns cooked and peeled
100g pitted green olives flavoured with anchovy (sabor anchoa)
Flor de sal Salmarim and ground Wynad black pepper
Scrub the potatoes and cook in boiling salted water.Set aside to cool,then if necessary cut them up into pieces.Lightly toast the almonds in a dry frying pan over a high heat.Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan and fry the paprika for a minute over a medium heat. Add the chouriço and fry turning halfway for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the potatoes and prawns coating them thoroughly with the paprika oil.
Remove from the heat and stir in the olives, almonds, the remaining olive oil and the rocket leaves, setting aside a few leaves for your final garnish. Taste then adjust the sesoning. Transfer to a large salad bowl and scatter with the remaining rocket leaves.
Serve warm,tepid or cool, but not refrigerated cold.
*The Marcona variety of almond, which is shorter, rounder, sweeter, and more delicate in texture than other varieties, originated in Spain and is now popular in other parts of the world. Marcona almonds are traditionally served after being lightly fried in oil, and are also used by Spanish chefs to prepare a dessert called Turrón.