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IAN & SPAIN

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Lemon Salad - From the heart of "La Mancha"
19 May 2020 @ 12:32

Ever since I met my wife, she has been addicted to this "refreshing" salad. Now my daughter is a devout follower too. 'Ensaladilla de limon' it is called and it is something of a tradition in the family and the region from where her family are from - La Mancha.  This unusual "salad", if you can really call it a salad, is based on six simple ingredients - Lemon, garlic, paprika, salt, olive oil and cold water. The result of this concoction is surprisingly tasty and moreish. It was a traditional refreshment that the women would take to their husbands during harvest time to calm the relentless heat of the summer. A salad that was designed for dunking bread, with a strong flavour and a strong aroma. I suppose it is the simplest kind of soup/salad you can possibly make. There are variations with tomato and cucumber but the lemon salad is by far the most popular.

It is said to be digestive and commonly believed to have high cleansing properties, so they say back in the village, helping to detoxify the body. Any experts in nutrition will be able to clarify if this is in fact true or not. Either way, it is enjoyable and refreshing when you get the balance right. It is a recipe that you will have tweek and play around with until you reach the balance you like given that these are intense flavours. Obviously, to enjoy this salad you need two prerequisites - you need to like lemon and garlic. 

If you do, crack on and give it a go!

Instructions for two people:


1.  Remove the skin from two lemons with a knife and cut them in half.
2.  Squeeze them with your hand into a bowl and then chop them up into small pieces and add to the bowl.
3.  Finely chop 1 large garlic clove and add to the bowl.
4.  Add half a teaspoon of sweet paprika - Pimenton de la Vera is best. - You may add more to taste if you want but it can get bitter so be careful, best to wait until the end.
5.  Add a sprinkling of salt.
6.  Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil - and then blend everything together with a whisk
7.  Add 1/2 litre of ice-cold water -  add half, and taste and then add the other half. If you feel it is too strong add more water.
8.  You can add more oil or paprika at this point to adjust for your liking.
9. If you feel like it, add a couple of ice cubes to keep it cool.

10. Let it sit for a few minutes to "brew", so to speak.

Alternatives - you can also add (or substitute the garlic with) finely chopped spring onion if you fancy that.

All that is left to do now is get dunking with some fresh crunchy bread!

 



Like 3




2 Comments


Encarna said:
23 May 2020 @ 10:18

Thank you for the recipe Ian, it sounds really delicious and I must try it. I am from La Mancha but didn't know this dish! Which part of La Mancha is this from? I have lived in UK for 37 years!
Encarna


eos_ian said:
24 May 2020 @ 10:12

Hi Encarna! Thanks for reading. My wife is from a little village next to Valdepeñas. It was traditionally quite common in this area as a refreshing snack when harvesting the grapes. Now I would imagine that the tradition continues just in the homes.


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