Updated: Jun 23, 2021
This is the beginning of fresh and light salads for this season on this blog. We already have quite a few on this blog from the last season. Tapas is considered to be the pinnacle of cooking. A single bite, that must be perfect to look at, balanced beautifully with spices and herbs and perfect in every way. Although tapas cuisine is most famous in Spain, this style is also seen in Japan, Peru, Scandinavian countries and Central and South America. In addition, tapas does include small plates, like patatas bravas, toasts and salads, just enough for a bite for each of us at the table. This salad screams farm fresh ingredients. My parents recently visited a farm that belongs to a dear on the outskirts of Hyderabad and came back with handfuls of beautiful vegetables, eggplant, drumsticks, kaffir limes, and these absolutely gorgeous tomatoes. I was not going to let these be turned into a curry, they were just so good. These tomatoes are highlighted in this salad, balanced beautifully with the tartness of vinegar and drizzled with the creamy Ajo blanco. The fresh herbs (from our garden) and tomatoes and highlight beautiful and delicious farm produce. The magic in this salad are the quick pickled scallions, yes do not take that shortcut and use plain scallions. Boqueria started as a New York tapas bar, a few of them now in major cities around the US, that specializes in Spanish cuisine. They work at getting the best ingredients to the table in order to make absolutely fabulous dishes at each of their restaurant. I am always partial to Spanish cuisine, so I had to get this gorgeous cookbook and so far I have loved every recipe I have tried from it. I highly recommend this cookbook for those folks, or cooks who would like to up their tapas game at home and wow your guests.
For more delicious recipes from this cookbook click here.
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups heirloom tomatoes, diced into bite sized pieces
1 tablespoon fresh basil, torn roughly
1 tablespoon fresh dill, torn roughly
1/4 cup pickled scallions, cut into small pieces. Recipe follows
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons Ajo blanco dip, recipe follows
For the Ajo blanco dip:
1/2 cup roasted almonds
1 small garlic clove
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
3 tablespoons water plus a bit
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons EVOO
For the pickles scallions:
1/2 cup sherry vinegar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 flake star anise
6 black peppercorns
1 whole clove
1 teaspoon yellow or black mustard seeds
1/2 chili arbol
1 garlic clove
1 small piece of bay leaf
A small pinch of thyme
A small pinch of rosemary
6-8 scallions, cleaned and cut into 2 inch pieces
To pickle the scallions:
Add all the pickling liquids, spices and herbs to a small pota and bring to a simmer to melt the sugar. Allow to cool and strain out all the solids. Add the scallions and soak for at least 3 hours or overnight. Seal in a jar and pickle and use for as long as 1 month in the refrigerator.
Note: You can substitute any other vegetables to be pickles too like carrots, radish, cauliflowers, onions, shallots, cucumbers and so on. If the vegetables are very hard like cauliflowers, carrots, etc., blanch slightly before pickling.
To make the Ajo blanco dip:
Add all the ingredients to a small blender and purée into a thick sauce. Add as little water as you can , and only if needed. The dip should have a heavy consistency so that it can cling to the vegetables. Note: This recipe makes for a lot of dip, you can serve it with fresh vegetables on a crudités platter. It is delicious.
To assemble the salad:
This salad is best assembled right before serving. This is so that the vinegars do not soften the herbs and tomatoes.
In a deep or wide shallow bowl, toss the tomatoes will basil, dill, pickled scallions and the vinegars. Season with salt and pepper.
Mix the lemon/lime juice into the Ajo blanco dip. Drizzle over the salad. Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately.