Spain, like the rest of the Mediterranean countries, has very hot summers, with 36 °C (97 F) being the average temperature in some regions. Not only are different clothes needed for this type of heat, but even the food has to be modified. Fresh, cool preparations such as salads and drinks are essential. Tuna salad with egg, potato and crunchy vegetables is one of my favorite summer recipes.
Fruits and vegetables are refreshing, and the Spanish take advantage of consuming them in large quantities, because they are deprived of them all winter since they become more expensive. Additionally, in the winter hot soups and pottages are much tastier.
This country salad, also known as a summer salad, is a simple and perfect preparation for dinner, but it is also a common tapa (small plate) dish that is served with many other tapa dishes along with bread, olives, beer and wine. Throughout the country it is prepared similarly, it maintains some common ingredients and others that vary significantly from one region to another and the preference of the person who prepares it. The common ingredients are usually potatoes (the star of the plate), fish (canned tuna or Mahi-mahi) and boiled egg. Dressings and vegetables vary greatly from one region to another. The most frequent are: tomatoes, red peppers, green peppers, onions, and beans. Others might prepare the country salad with mushrooms or leafy greens such as lettuce or spinach.
This tuna salad with egg and potato recipe I am sharing with you is the most traditional version of this salad in my family. It is best made when the ingredients are freshest with sweet, juicy tomatoes and crisp, perfectly ripe peppers. The very best, of course, is when you get most of your ingredients from your own backyard or purchase from a local farm stand.
1/2smallpurple onion, halved and sliced, very thin
1tspdwarf capers, drained and rinsed
1cantuna (5-7 ounces), drained
4tbspextra virgin olive oil
2tbspsherry vinegar (If you don't have sherry vinegar you can use white vinegar)
Salt and pepper to taste
The first step is to cook the potatoes and eggs. For potatoes, to maintain maximum consistency, vitamins, and flavor, you must cook them with the skin. In a medium saucepan, add potatoes and enough water to cover potatoes by 1 inch. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and continue on a low boil until potatoes are just beginning to get soft. Remove from heat and let cool. Peel potatoes once they are cool enough. Quarter potatoes.
To hard boil the eggs: In a medium saucepan, add eggs and ½ teaspoon salt and cover with cool water (water should be about 1 inch above the eggs). Bring to a strong rolling boil and let boil for about 30 seconds. Then turn heat off and let sit for about 12 minutes. Drain hot water and cover eggs with cool water to stop cooking. When cooled, peel the eggs. ****Quarter eggs, but save 1 cooked egg yolk for dressing.
Prepare vegetables (slice tomatoes into wedges, pepper into strips and onion into thin slices) as eggs and potatoes are cooking and add to a bowl.
Add potatoes, olives and capers. Add egg and tuna.
To prepare the dressing, crush the cooked yolk that you reserved, mix very well with oil and vinegar until you have a homogenous dressing. Salt and pepper dressing, to taste. Top salad with dressing.