Here to celebrate tomato season this summer is a tribute to all those luscious summer tomatoes, ripening on the vines in warm sunshine. Mixed with just a few more cool crunchies, and you have yet another colorful popular traditional dish, pipirrana, all the way from the south of Spain.
This is your perfect noon time meal to cool off. It has fresh sweet tomatoes supplemented with crunchy peppers, cool cucumbers, and perked up with some ripe olives, and a protein boost from boiled eggs (and if you are like me, you won’t forget some hunk of bread for dunking). Or, this could end up as a perfect sidekick to any of your grilled meats, or any meal in general. Try it, you will love this simple thing, as sometimes simple is all we need…
There is something about the juicy balance of acidity and sweetness found in local summer tomatoes. The ones the lucky few who have gardens grow every year. Or those beautiful heirloom tomatoes you are raring to get your hands on in your local farmers markets. Seldom do you find the same flavor in the sponges grown by corporate farms. And when you see them aplenty this time of the year, one starts thinking of hundreds of ways to cook them.
I always tend towards using them in raw form, or just slightly cook them to retain the all goodness of fresh sweet flavors. Raw tomato salads, confits and chutneys quickly pop into my mind when I see some beautiful tomatoes. Eating tomatoes in raw form is such a staple in so many cuisines all over the world.
It may take the form of caprese with fresh basil in Italy, chunky fattoush with leftover fried pita in Levant countries, add in some kalamata and feta in Greece, some cucumber and yogurt to make raita in India, or this Pipirrana from Spain. All good! The fresh flavors you get to savor only during the hot days of summer…
What is Pipirrana?
Pipirrana is a traditional Spanish salad from Andalusia, Spain’s southern region. It is believed to have originated as a peasant dish, where farmers would whip it up with whatever they were growing on their farms.
It’s a normal veggie affair, sometimes boosted with olives, boiled eggs, or even seafood during festivals or special occasions. Similar to many traditional Spanish recipes, there are likely as many variations of pipirrana as there are cooks. Some versions are more like soup than salad. Sometimes the tomatoes are peeled and emulsified, or even cooked, with the rest of the ingredients.
This is one of the dishes families make with whatever ingredients they have available due to their economy, season or region. Though the most common and basic ingredients are ripe tomatoes, some kind of sweet peppers, and lots of olive oil infused with garlic. Topping it with boiled eggs, canned tuna, sliced cured ham or marinated octopus is when you take it to the next level.
Today we present to you Pipirrana in a very basic, yet so deliciously cool form…
All you need is
For the salad
- Ripe Tomatoes – Find the heirloom or vine ripened tomatoes. You can try it with cherry tomatoes too.
- Cucumber – Another summer favorite.
- Bell peppers – Today we are using green and red.
- Olives – We are using black, but green will do also.
- Spanish or white onion – some more crunch.
- Hard boiled eggs – I recommend cooking these ahead of time so they can cool off in the fridge.
For a quick garlic vinaigrette
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
Now the super easy part
Start by making the garlic vinaigrette, so all the flavors mingle with each other as you chop your veggies for the salad. Simply mince the garlic and whisk it along with all the rest of the vinaigrette ingredients.
Chop tomatoes, cucumber, onion and bell peppers into cubes. Mix well with olives and garlic vinaigrette.
Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. When serving, garnish your pipirrana with boiled egg halves or quarters. Don’t forget that chunky bread, like my no knead bread, to soak up all the good juices from the veggies and dressing! With eggs or tuna it’s a light meal in itself on some hot sultry summer day.
- You can make garlic vinaigrette thicker and smoother by adding some mashed yolk from the hard boiled eggs. For this, first mix minced garlic, salt, pepper and vinegar with the egg yolk to make a smooth paste. Then whisk in olive oil. Taste and adjust for salt and vinegar.
- Top off the salad with canned, drained, tuna.
- Some people season the dressing with ground cumin.
Yes, it’s that simple guys… All you need is some great tomatoes, fresh cucumbers and crunchy peppers to make this happen. I know some of you have these in abundance in your very own gardens all summer. For the rest of us, if you are visiting a farmers market very soon, grab some colorful tomatoes and the rest is easy… 🙂
Stay cool and stay hydrated with my Pipirrana… 🙂
Spanish Summer Salad, AKA Pipirrana, on my Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 3 large ripe tomatoes on vine or heirloom tomatoes
- 1 cucumber
- 1 small white or Spanish onion
- 1/2 green bell pepper
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 10-12 black olives
- 4 eggs, hard boiled
For Garlic Vinaigrette
- 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- Place eggs in pot and cover with cold water. Bring to boil, then cook 10 minutes. Immerse in cool water. When cool, cut them in halves or quartered.
- Chop tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers and onion into cubes. Mix together along with olives in a salad bowl.
- Mince garlic and whisk it together with all the rest of vinaigrette ingredients.
- Mix vinaigrette into the salad. Cover and refrigerate to chill for 30 minutes.
- Garnish the salad with boiled eggs and serve it with a nice loaf of bread.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 266Total Fat 21gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 187mgSodium 303mgCarbohydrates 14gFiber 3gSugar 8gProtein 9g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
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