Everyone has a favourite salad. Here are two of mine. I like salads that get better with age. When it's really hot outside, the last thing I want to do is spend too much time cooking. So I make a substantial amount of these salads and eat them, super-chilled from the fridge, over a couple of days with a glass of gazpacho.
Ensalada campera, or summer potato salad, is a classic Spanish dish. I grew up with a bowl of this almost constantly in our fridge during summer. Its ingredients shout Spain to me - olives, tomatoes, peppers and tuna. The potatoes and egg make it a meal in itself.
Roasted capsicum and tomato salad can be eaten as a substantial dinner with good-quality bread or as a simple snack in the middle of the day. In Spanish, the dish is known as asadillo and it has been with MoVida since the day we opened in an old pub in North Melbourne.
It is a bright salad of velvety red roasted capsicum, served with softened tomatoes and spicy cumin dressing. It can be served warm shortly after the capsicums have been roasted or stored in the refrigerator for a few days, where the flavours will develop further.
This salad is refreshing, with the flavours of southern Spain, mellow oak-flavoured sherry vinegar and freshly roasted cumin. Sometimes I serve this with grilled fish or meat.
Barcelona-born Frank Camorra is chef and co-owner of MoVida Sydney, which opened this week in Surry Hills, and Melbourne's MoVida Bar de Tapas.
MoVida Sydney participates in Bread for Good from next week.
ROASTED CAPSICUM AND TOMATO SALAD WITH CUMIN AND SHERRY VINEGAR
8 red capsicums
2 large brown onions, unpeeled
2 garlic bulbs
6 tomatoes, peeled (for method, see below), seeded and cut into wedges
1 handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
150ml sherry vinegar
1 tbsp freshly ground cumin
Preheat oven to 180C. Put capsicums, onions and garlic in a large roasting tin, sprinkle with salt and drizzle with olive oil. Roast 30-35 minutes. Capsicums are ready when soft and a little browned. Remove capsicum and garlic, put in a bowl and pour over cooking juices. Return onion to the oven and cook for a further 20 minutes, or until the interior flesh is very soft. Retain cooking juices. When capsicums are just cool enough to handle, discard seeds and break up flesh into broad strips. Put in a bowl. Cut tops off garlic bulbs and squeeze out paste over capsicums. Add tomato and mix through, letting the residual warmth from the capsicums soften the tomatoes a little. When the onions are ready, remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove outside skin. Cut the onions into rough wedges and mix through capsicum and tomato mixture. Measure 100ml of reserved cooking juices from roasting tin and add to the salad with remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Serve immediately or refrigerate before serving.
SUMMER POTATO SALAD
6 ripe tomatoes
750g kipfler potatoes, washed but not peeled
3 green capsicums, seeded, de-stemmed and diced into 1cm squares
1 red onion, chopped into large pieces
200g green pickled olives
1 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tsp salt
150ml fruity olive oil
100ml aged sherry vinegar
1 tin Spanish tuna belly
6 eggs, hard-boiled and peeled
Score a cross in the base of each tomato. Put them in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 30 seconds, then remove to cold water and allow to cool. Peel the skin away, starting from the cross. Cut tomatoes in half, remove seeds then dice into rough 1cm squares. Put potatoes in a saucepan, cover with cold water, add pinch of salt and boil gently for 30 minutes or until soft when prodded with a skewer. Put tomatoes, capsicums, onion, olives, parsley, salt, olive oil and sherry vinegar in a bowl. Mix well. Cover and set aside. Drain the cooked potatoes and peel when cool enough to handle. Slice into 1cm rounds and add to the salad. Gently lift through the salad. Add tuna pieces then place on serving plate. Cut eggs into quarters, arrange over the salad and serve.