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Help me replicate this salad I had in Spain

jpdaigle Sep 9, 2008 06:43 PM

I ate this seemingly simple but extraordinarily delicious salad in a little cafe in Madrid. Unfortunately, I can't figure out what was in it or remember what they called it - oops.

Luckily, I took a picture (click on "all sizes" to get a larger view):

We can see:
* Strips of meat - ham?
* Hearts of palm
* Capers
* Tomatoes
* Lettuce - though I'm not sure what kinds are in there, there's definitely some sort of reddish/pinkish leafy plant

I'd love to identify the peppers as well, they look like hot chili peppers, but I don't remember the salad being very spicy, so I'm at a loss. A huge thanks in advance to anyone that knows what they are...

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  1. a
    Analisas mom RE: jpdaigle Sep 9, 2008 07:17 PM

    looks like strips of saranno ham and grilled red bells I am not sure on the peppers but I'll bet there is some manchego cheese and black olives and capers

    1 Reply
    1. re: Analisas mom
      paulj RE: Analisas mom Sep 9, 2008 09:26 PM

      I think seranno ham is usually cut thinner than that; color is deeper too. So it could even be unsmoked pork, or just a lightly cured form.

      The larger red pepper may be piquillo, but the thinner green curly ones are not.

      With hearts of palm it probably is not a traditional salad. The closest thing I can find in The New Spanish Table is 'ensalda mixta' - mixed salad, which of course can be any combination of lettuce, raw and cooked vegetables, tuna or ham, peppers, tomatoes, eggs, etc. Dressing may be simple vinaigrette.

    2. sarah galvin RE: jpdaigle Sep 9, 2008 07:35 PM

      Possibly piquillo roasted red peppers. They are popular in Spain.

      1. Rubee RE: jpdaigle Sep 9, 2008 11:35 PM

        I'm pretty sure the green peppers are guindilla peppers.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Rubee
          paulj RE: Rubee Sep 9, 2008 11:53 PM

          which according to
          is mild when green, hotter when red.

          1. re: paulj
            missmasala RE: paulj Sep 10, 2008 06:27 AM

            those round things look like caper berries (giant version of capers) not olives to me. The meat looks like regular spanish ham (Jamon) and the red peppers are almost certainly piquillo peppers. Can't speak to the green peppers, so i'll take other posters word for them being guindilla. The long white things I think are not hearts of palm but giant white spanish asparagus, a popular salad item in spain, almost certainly from a jar.

            gotta love those spanish salads! they're great, unless you actually want some some real leafy greens and raw veggies!

            1. re: missmasala
              Rubee RE: missmasala Sep 10, 2008 10:24 AM

              I agree - I think those are white asparagus, not hearts of palm, and definitely piquillo peppers along with the guindillas. Not caperberries, however. I think they're just large Spanish capers. I use caperberries and they look much different - they're the fruit, usually stemmed, while capers are the buds. I think I see a slice of hard-boiled egg between the tomatoes and, as Niblet mentions, for lettuce, I also see frisee and radicchio. Now I'm hungry!

              Link to a pic from tapas I did recently. Caperberries are in the bowl on the left (along with jamon, marcona almonds and Spanish cheeses).


              1. re: Rubee
                jpdaigle RE: Rubee Sep 10, 2008 12:25 PM

                @Rubee That plate looks fantastic! Hard to buy jamon in Ottawa.

        2. Niblet RE: jpdaigle Sep 10, 2008 07:01 AM

          I wonder if those are pistachios rather than capers or caper berries. They look a little dark but maybe roasted. Not to be a geek, but I think nuts would be a nicer counterpoint than capers to the jarred hearts of palm or white asparagus.

          I'm also seeing frisee and raddichio. What a fun puzzle!

          1. jpdaigle RE: jpdaigle Sep 10, 2008 08:59 AM

            Hi everyone, thanks a lot for your help! I've never seen piquillo or guindilla peppers at the markets here in Ottawa, but now that I have a name the search might be easier. The white asparagus in jars I've definitely seen in food shops.

            3 Replies
            1. re: jpdaigle
              MMRuth RE: jpdaigle Sep 10, 2008 09:02 AM

              If you have trouble finding them, you might want to check out www.tienda.com and/or www.despanabrandfoods.com - not sure if they ship to Canada though.


              1. re: MMRuth
                Rubee RE: MMRuth Sep 10, 2008 10:29 AM

                Second Latienda - I buy most of my Spanish ingredients from here.

                Pics from Latienda:

                Guindillas Peppers

                Piquillo Peppers

                White asparagus

                1. re: Rubee
                  oakjoan RE: Rubee Sep 10, 2008 12:53 PM

                  I am lucky to have The Spanish Table in the next town. It's quite good for buying ingredients online if you don't live near Berkeley, Seattle or Santa Fe.

                  You can just search for The Spanish Table

            2. s
              stuckinschool RE: jpdaigle Sep 10, 2008 05:40 PM

              are you sure that's meat and not tuna? it looks like ventresca (conserved tuna belly) which is usually in elongated thick strips like those on your salad.

              otherwise i agree with the white asparagus, piquillos, guindillas and capers

              2 Replies
              1. re: stuckinschool
                missmasala RE: stuckinschool Sep 10, 2008 07:15 PM

                hmm, i took another look at the pic (i love a puzzle and am totally missing spain at the moment) and I think you might be right. that could be ventresca.

                I would say it's either ventresca or jamon. i hope the OP can remember whether it tasted like tuna or ham. was it flaky or meaty?

                the ventresca will be hard to find and pricey, but boy is it delicious!

                1. re: missmasala
                  jpdaigle RE: missmasala Sep 11, 2008 08:51 AM

                  OP here, unfortunately this was nearly 6 months ago, so I can't remember if this salad had tuna or ham. I had a lot of both during the time I was there.

              2. m
                mlgb RE: jpdaigle Sep 11, 2008 09:56 AM

                About those pickled peppers. I think you'd have an easier time going to a Middle Eastern store (or possibly even that section of a supermarket). They translate as "mild green pickled peppers" (which doesn't help much), but there are a few Turkish brands. Be careful, there is also a hot version. Here's a Turkish food site with some photos. (You may also find them in other types of stores also).


                Oh, the other items in dispute look to me like regular (boiled) ham, white asparagus, and capers (big ones, but not caper berries).

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