Adventures in Eating: Ensalada de Piparrada
Rosemarie | July 1984
The eighteen provinces that make up Spain have maintained the tradition of what is called La Buena Mesa (The Good Table). Back in the 13th Century, King Alfonso The Wise wrote: “Spain is rich in honeys, abundant with fruits, teeming with fish, well provided with milk… filled with deer and hunt, covered with cattle, merry with good wine, happy with an abundance of bread and sugar… well stocked with oil and fragrant saffron.” What more can one say to describe the pleasures that awaits one in that diverse country? Each region is fiercely proud of its own history and lore almost like states within the U.S. Foods differ from province to province depending on their resources. Eating is a favorite pastime and the following schedule gives you some idea of how it works:
8 a.m. light breakfast
11 a.m. midmorning breakfast
1 p.m. tapas (variety of snacks)
2 p.m. three-course lunch
5-6 p.m. tea & pastries or snack
8-10 p.m. evening tapas
10-11 p.m. three course supper
Needless to say, this is tough on a visitor who wants to sight-see and not miss the sights of the Spanish table. We don’t consider caloric intake with this kind of schedule.
Of all the provinces, though, the Basque province is most known for its cuisine, and most of the Basque food is proudly prepared throughout the country and designated as such. Reading the current newspapers, the independent character of its peoples is known. It is the most industrialized section of the country, and consistently maintains a strong economy. Being close to the French border, the Basque foods are a mixture of the Spanish down-to-earth ingredients and flavors, plus the sophistication of French food preparation. What’s to follow is a simple yet delicious summer salad using California’s bounty of vegetables. I’m sure it will please you.
ENSALADA DE PIPARRADA
(Cucumber, Tomato, and Pepper Salad)
1 cucumber, peeled, cut 1 inch cubes (if you use long Japanese type, no need to peel)
2 tomatoes, cut into eighths, then halved
1 green pepper, in 1 inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped. Purple is best
6 T olive oil or vegetable oil
3 T red wine vinegar
1 t fresh lemon juice
1/2 t sugar
2 T finely chopped parsley
Fresh ground black pepper or hot red
Mix together all ingredients. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
Hasta la vista!