By Cat Gaa
When the temperatures begin to rise in Spain, citizens in its major cities run for the hills or the beaches or their air-conditioned flats, leaving metropolitan hubs looking like a post-apocalyptic scene. With summer temperatures reaching 100° or more in the south and landlocked interior, Spanish cuisine becomes lighter and fresher to help combat heatstroke.
This cold, tomato-based soup is ubiquitous with Southern Spain and consumed by the gallons when the temperatures begin to soar. But tomatoes aren’t the only fruit you can use: variations include watermelon or cucumber, and ‘ajoblanco,’ a cold soup made from pressed almonds and garlic, which is a popular dish in Málaga and its environs.
4 medium large tomatoes, cut coarsely
1 medium cucumber
1 green pepper, deseeded
2 cloves of garlic
a generous pinch of salt
½ c olive oil
½ c white wine vinegar
½ c water
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
- Cut all vegetables coarsely and dump them into a plastic container. Add ¼ cup of water.
- Using an immersion blender, blend all of the vegetable ingredients together until smooth.
- Run the liquid through a strainer and into a second container, using a mortar to squeeze all of the juices out of the pulp.
- Return the pulp to the blender and repeat, adding the remainder of the water to cover.
- Discard the remnants of the vegetables.
- Add the olive oil and vinegar to the container and blend. Add salt to taste.
- Chill for at least one hour before consumption.
Ensalada Cítrica, or Malgueño Style Orange Salad with Cod
A typical and refreshing salad, the ‘ensalada malagueña’ is commonly eaten as an appetizer or even for dinner. The citrus of the oranges and the salty cod is a tasty combo, even if they seem like an unlikely match.
Oranges are in-season in the wintertime, but this salad is served year-round.
5 oranges, deseeded
2 small spring onions
7oz salted cod, deboned
½ c olive oil
Preparation time: 3 hours
Cook time: 10 minutes
- Desalt the cod in water for three hours. Grill it slightly in olive oil over a flame, and then flake it into a bowl and add a healthy dash of olive oil.
- Peel the oranges and cut into thin rinds.
- Repeat with the spring onions.
- Carefully mix the cod, oranges and onions together with olive oil and add parsley, if desired.
Granizados are a healthier, tastier take on a slurpee that are sold in roadside stands and restaurants near attractions. They come in an array of flavors, though lemon is the most common.
Vendors have fancy machines to make the granizado and keep them chilled, but if you’d like to make one, you’ll have to do the heavy lifting yourself.
6 lemons (and one rind, grated)
2 c water
¾ c sugar
mint leaves, optional
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 4 hours
- Wash and grate one lemon rind.
- Combine the lemon rind shavings with the water and sugar in a pan and heat slowly for about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Squeeze the six lemons and strain the liquid.
- Mix the lemon juice and with the water and place in a covered container. Place in freezer.
- Every hour for four hours, remove the container and stir so that the mixture is slushy, but not frozen.
- Serve in glasses. Mint leaves are optional.
And when all else fails (or you can’t bear being in the kitchen) there’s an ice cream joint on seemingly every corner in Seville! Staying cool has never tasted better.
Cat Gaa left the skyscrapers of Chicago for the olive groves of Southern Spain nearly three years ago. Although a disaster in the kitchen, her gazpacho has won acclaim from her two most critical fans: her husband and mother-in-law. She write about food, expat life and Seville on her personal blog, Sunshine and Siestas.