How to Make “Ensalada Campera”: A Delicious Spanish Salad

Ensalada Campera, also known as Spanish Country Salad, is a traditional dish from Spain that is both refreshing and packed with flavors. This salad is a perfect choice for hot summer days or as a side dish for barbecues and picnics. In this article, we will explore the origins of Ensalada Campera, its ingredients, and step-by-step instructions on how to make it. Let’s dive in!

The Origins of Ensalada Campera

Ensalada Campera originates from the region of Murcia in southeastern Spain. It is a popular dish among farmers and rural communities, hence the name “campera,” which translates to “country” in English. This salad is a celebration of the fresh produce found in the region, combining simple ingredients to create a delicious and satisfying meal.

The Ingredients

Ensalada Campera typically includes the following ingredients:

  • Potatoes: 3 medium-sized potatoes
  • Green beans: 200 grams
  • Red bell pepper: 1
  • Tomatoes: 2
  • Onion: 1 small
  • Olives: a handful
  • Tuna: 1 can (optional)
  • Extra virgin olive oil: 3 tablespoons
  • White wine vinegar: 1 tablespoon
  • Salt and pepper: to taste

Step-by-Step Instructions

Now that we have our ingredients ready, let’s go through the step-by-step process of making Ensalada Campera:

Step 1: Boil the Potatoes

Start by washing the potatoes and cutting them into bite-sized cubes. Place the potato cubes in a pot of salted boiling water and cook until they are tender but still firm. This usually takes around 10-15 minutes. Once cooked, drain the potatoes and set them aside to cool.

Step 2: Blanch the Green Beans

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the green beans by trimming the ends and cutting them into smaller pieces. Bring another pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the green beans for about 3-4 minutes, or until they are bright green and slightly tender. Drain the green beans and transfer them to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and retain their vibrant color.

Step 3: Chop the Vegetables

Next, chop the red bell pepper, tomatoes, and onion into small pieces. You can adjust the size of the vegetables according to your preference. Place the chopped vegetables in a large mixing bowl.

Step 4: Add the Potatoes, Green Beans, and Tuna

Once the potatoes and green beans have cooled, add them to the mixing bowl with the chopped vegetables. If you prefer a heartier salad, you can also add a can of tuna for an extra protein boost. Mix all the ingredients together gently.

Step 5: Dress the Salad

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt, and pepper to make the dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss everything together until well coated.

Step 6: Garnish and Serve

Finally, garnish the Ensalada Campera with a handful of olives and some fresh herbs like parsley or basil. You can also add a squeeze of lemon juice for an extra burst of flavor. Serve the salad chilled or at room temperature and enjoy!

Q&A

1. Can I customize the ingredients in Ensalada Campera?

Absolutely! Ensalada Campera is a versatile dish, and you can customize it according to your taste preferences. Some variations include adding boiled eggs, roasted red peppers, or even substituting the tuna with grilled chicken.

2. Can I make Ensalada Campera in advance?

Yes, Ensalada Campera can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together and enhances the taste of the salad.

3. Is Ensalada Campera a healthy dish?

Ensalada Campera is a nutritious and healthy dish. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber from the fresh vegetables. The olive oil used in the dressing provides healthy fats, and the tuna adds a good source of protein.

4. Can I serve Ensalada Campera as a main course?

While Ensalada Campera is traditionally served as a side dish, it can also be enjoyed as a main course, especially for those following a vegetarian or pescatarian diet. You can add more protein by including additional ingredients like chickpeas or grilled tofu.

5. What are some other traditional Spanish dishes I can try?

Spain is known for its diverse and delicious cuisine. Some other traditional Spanish dishes you can explore include paella, gazpacho, tortilla española, and pulpo a la gallega (Galician-style octopus).

Summary

Ensalada Campera is a delightful Spanish salad that showcases the fresh flavors of the Mediterranean. With its simple yet vibrant ingredients, this salad is a perfect addition to any summer gathering or as a light and healthy meal. By following the step-by-step instructions provided in this article, you can easily recreate this traditional dish in your own kitchen. So, gather your ingredients, get cooking, and enjoy the refreshing taste of Ensalada Campera!

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