Lent starts for Byzantine Catholics on Monday, and since our first day (and Good Friday) requires total abstinence from all animal products (but not fish--I still don't really get it), we like to plan ahead for what to eat that day.
This year, I'll be making this:
|Photo credit: http://us.riojawine.com/files/images/recipes_casas_red_pepper_salad.jpg|
Ensalada De Pimientos Estilo-Andaluz
(Red Pepper, Tomato, And Tuna Salad, Andalusian Style)
From One Pot Spanish, by Penelope Casas, page 20; recipe copied from http://us.riojawine.com/en/97-penelope-casas.html since I was too lazy to type it all out.
This version of Andalusian red pepper salad comes from the Cazorla restaurant in Madrid and is an especially delicious rendition. It includes tomato, white-meat tuna and mild bright green olives and it is served in a bowl with lots of liquid from the peppers and tomatoes. More than salad in itself it is meant as a side dish to Andalusian fried fish and grilled shrimp to place on your plate with the fish and take more as you please.
6 medium-large, deep red bell peppers
1/2 pound good-quality white-meat tuna, preferably imported from Spain
1/2 pound ripe but firm tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices, then halved
12 mild bright green olives, such as Cerignola
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
6 tablespoons fruity extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon wine vinegar, preferably mild white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Kosher or sea salt
Preheat the oven to 550'F. Place the peppers in a roosting pan and cook until charred, turning once, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and place in a deep dish. Cover with foil and let sit for 15 minutes. Peel off the skin, core, and seed the peppers, reserving the juices.
Slice the peppers into 3/4-inch strips and place in a bowl. Add the tuna, broken into chunks, the tomatoes, olives, and parsley. Fold in the oil, vinegar, sugar, and salt to taste with a rubber spatula. Refrigerate overnight. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Notes from me:
The picture in our cookbook is different from this one that I found online, but I think this will be delicious. I'll be making a few adjustments: I'm using canned tuna, black olives, and dried parsley, since we already have those things on hand. I was excited that red peppers have been on sale for *only* $1.99/pound lately. If you don't have or can't find Vidalia onions, I'd think that a sweet onion, or really, ANY onion would be fine. I'm using whatever we have in our bin in the basement. I just wish I could get summer tomatoes now, since I think the dish would be even better with those, versus the ones we get in the winter.
Additionally, this recipe is great for those of us who are always scrambling to get dinner on the table, as you have to prepare it ahead of time and leave it in the fridge. Now, as for what to serve it with...I was planning on buying a loaf of crusty, multigrain bread at the store, but we're expecting THAT storm and who knows if I'll be able to get down to the store. Plus, it won't be so fresh by Monday. I do have some whole wheat rolls in the freezer(which happen to be vegan!) that I could toast under the broiler and serve with olive oil. Also, to fill up the plate (and the belly) a little more, I think I'll serve it over a bed of raw spinach or kale. I have both in the fridge.