Tasting Circle: Sangria and Salad

  • Katy van Geel

  • —Katy van Geel

Published: 8/18/2017 9:21:10 AM

Continuing in the vein of Spanish foods for warm summer days, let me first recommend sangria, the delicious fruit-and-wine punch that is served in hundreds of variations in and out of Spain. Dorothy Gilbert, a former professor of Nursing at UMass and a member of our Learning in Retirement seminar on “Don Quixote,” brought a delicious non-alcoholic version to our break. 

Sangria is made with a bottle of dry red, white or rosé wine, fruit, perhaps fresh orange juice, half a cup of simple syrup, and optional brandy or rum. Non-alcoholic versions use cranberry-grape or pomegranate juice. Combine liquids and fruits in a pitcher and let sit for a few hours before serving.

Which fruits? Thin slices of orange, lemon or lime are a must. Ripe peach or nectarine is wonderful. I personally don’t like apple or pear, partly for their texture and partly for the unappetizing color they turn from sitting in red wine, but if you like them, go for it. Add lots of ice before serving. In Spain, sangria is often diluted with seltzer or gaseosa, a lemony soda, adding welcome fizz. Your own variation is as good as anyone else’s.

Another ubiquitous Spanish summer dish is “ensalada mixta,” or mixed salad, not mentioned in “Don Quixote” but still a fine option for a warm day. It is a staple in our house as it is refreshing, healthy and filling. In Spain this is often a first course, but on a really hot day when you feel like eating lightly, it’s enough by itself.

Ensalada Mixta for 4 

1 head lettuce

2 ripe tomatoes, cut into pieces

1 cucumber, peeled and sliced

½ sweet or red onion, sliced into thin rings

Handful of pitted green olives

1 6 oz. can solid albacore tuna, drained

2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered

Combine first five ingredients on a large platter. Break up tuna into chunks and add. Dress with a vinaigrette of extra-virgin olive oil, wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and combine well. Before serving, place the eggs around the periphery of the platter.

You can add your own touches, such as marinated artichoke hearts, cooked asparagus, black olives, grated carrot, any color bell peppers, etc.

With crusty bread, this really is a meal in itself.










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