It seems that most of us are constantly struggling against our bodies… for some reason, hips and tighs refuse to support our cooking endeavours properly, those rebelious bastards! But, not to panick, Lisa and Kelly devised a foodie event to help us all called Salad Stravaganza.
Basically, any sort of salad would do, so the possibilities were pretty much endless. But I didn´t have to think for too long: good old caponata salad was perfect for this. It has tuna, tomatoes, olives, anchovies, peppers and a special type of cracker called “galleta marinera” here, that looks something like this:
I´m sure you can use other types of crackers, just make sure it´s quite tough, kind of like very crisp breadstick.
You add the crackers a couple of hours before serving to let them soak in the salad juices so it lends a crunch, but not too much of a crunch that it gets in the way of the other flavors and textures. (The original recipe put the crackers at the beginning, but I found the crackers get too soggy for my liking that way.)
It´s really easy to assemble and has to be made at least 12 hours ahead of time to let the flavors meld together, so it´s perfect for a dinner party (with some meat if your guests are into meat, I just made this along with a Caesar´s salad and my guests were perfectly happy.)
Being an Italian salad, there´s no fancy dressing, just a clever combination of ingredients to bring out the best flavor. Oh, and sorry for the bad bad pictures, the light wasn´t cooperating and I was in the midst of a cooking frenzy, so pictures weren´t high up on my list of priorities.
Well, that´s it, that´s all I can do to fight the expanding nature of hips and tighs, hope it helps, though I have the feeling they will win in the end.
Caponata (adapted and translated from Cocina Básica, by Blanca Cotta)
Green pepper, half
Red pepper, half
Green olives, 100 grams
Black olives, 100 grams (Here I just used a big bunch of green olives because I´m not much of a fan of black olives.)
Tuna, canned with water (The original recipe called for tuna in oil, but I hate it with a passion, I´d rather add some good olive oil later on.)
Crackers, called “galletas marineras”, or similar, 4 big ones or 8 small ones
Garlic, 3 big cloves
Scallions, 2 tablespoons (optional)
Capers, 2 tablespoons (the original recipe called for picked cucumbers, so you can use that instead if you´d like)
Salt and pepper
1. Boil the eggs for 8 minutes (after the water has started boiling, that is). Peel them once they are cold.
2. Cut the tomatoes and the scallions and put them in the bottom of the bowl you want to serve the salad in. Add a bit of salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar at this point.
3. Then add the tuna, the capers (or pickled cucumbers), the boiled eggs (chopped), the olives (chopped), the anchovies (yes, also chopped, in this case, very finely so that the flavor spreads out), and the peppers, chopped into thin strips. At this point, you should season the salad again (keep in mind that the anchovies and the olives are quite salty, though).
4. Cover with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for at least 12 hours (I like it better around 24 hours after it´s made).
5. About 2 hours before you plan to serve it, peel the garlic cloves. Using a fork, scrape the garlic cloves against the crackers to get them all nice and garlicky. Once you are done, break the crackers into medium-sized pieces and mix them into the salad.
6. Take the salad out of the fridge about an hour before you plan to serve it to allow the flavors to come out more clearly. Enjoy!