Hot weather recipes from Spain

  • Nina Scott’s homemade gazpacho, accompanied by some homemade bread. NINA SCOTT

For the Gazette
Published: 8/5/2022 4:17:23 PM
Modified: 8/5/2022 4:14:17 PM

Summers in Spain can be scorching, but there are some well-known dishes that will help you beat the heat. I lived in Spain for a year and also directed programs for UMass in Madrid. I learned to love Spanish cuisine and always appreciate the simplicity and good taste of some favorite recipes.

I will share some of these with you. They are healthy, some are vegetarian, and all are tasty and inexpensive.

Gazpacho andaluz

I often have this cold soup in my refrigerator for hot summer lunches. Using canned tomatoes is perfectly OK. Best made in batches in a blender.

2 slices bread, soaked in about 1 ½ cups of water

1 28 oz can whole tomatoes

Chop the following: 2 cloves garlic, peeled; 1 small onion; 1 small green pepper; 1 small cucumber

¼ c. olive oil

Vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste

Blend all the above ingredients and put into a pitcher. Taste for seasoning. Add half a tray of ice cubes and put into the refrigerator to chill. Stir before serving.

Tortilla Española for 2

I use an 8” nonstick skillet.

Peel a large potato and cut into thin slices. Chop a peeled small onion. Put about 1/3 cup olive oil into the skillet and heat over medium heat; add the potato and onion. Cover pan. Poach gently until the vegetables are tender but not brown.

Drain the vegetables through a sieve, retaining the oil and let them cool a bit. Put about 3 T of this oil into the skillet and heat to medium-high. Meanwhile beat 3 to 4 eggs, adding salt and pepper. Add the vegetables, then pour mixture into the pan. With a spatula, lift the edges of the tortilla to let the egg flow underneath. When the underside of the tortilla begins to brown, put a large plate over the skillet, remove from heat and flip the contents onto the plate. Add 1 more T of oil to the skillet, heat, and slide the tortilla back into the pan. Cook until the bottom is brown as well, but keep the tortilla somewhat juicy. Flip again onto a clean plate and let cool.

Cut into wedges or squares. This can be served as an appetizer or a main meal. A green salad is a good accompaniment.

Gambas al ajillo (garlicky shrimp)

½ lb. small shrimp, shelled, lightly salted

3 T olive oil

Pinch of red pepper

1 chopped garlic clove

1 T minced parsley

Heat olive oil and garlic on medium heat, being sure not to burn the garlic. Add red pepper and the shrimp; fry for only about a minute, then take off the heat and add the parsley. Wait a bit before eating so you don’t burn your mouth. Serve with crusty bread to sop up the delicious oil.

A similar recipe for mushrooms is called “Champiñones al ajillo.”

You do the same prep as for the shrimp – use about ½ lb. of mushrooms, quartered, sauté gently in the olive oil with the garlic. When soft, add salt, red pepper and parsley. You could also add a spritz of lemon juice or dry sherry. Don’t forget the bread.

Pisto manchego

3 T olive oil

1 green pepper, 1 medium onion, 1 or 2 zucchini, all coarsely chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb. tomatoes, peeled and diced

Salt and pepper

Heat oil in a large, oven-proof skillet over medium heat and sauté pepper, onion and garlic until the vegetables are soft. Add the tomatoes, zucchini, salt, pepper, and parsley and cook uncovered for half an hour.

It can be eaten as is, or, as I had it in Spain, with eggs. Break 1 egg/person into the stew and put the skillet into an oven at 350ᵒ until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny.

May you enjoy all of these favorites of mine.

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