‘’Empedrat’’ or ‘’Esgarraet’’, a cold salad with infinite variations

‘’Empedrat’’ or ‘’Esgarraet’’, a cold salad with infinite variations

In Catalunya, it is known as ‘’empedrat’’ or ‘‘esqueixada’’ and in the Comunidad Valenciana, you can find it as ‘’esgarraet’’ or ‘’espancao’’ (although this second form is largely limited to inland areas in the north of the province of Alicante, where we cultivate and produce our Masía El Altet extra virgin olive oil).

We have before us one of the most typical dishes from Catalunya and the Comunidad Valenciana.  It is one of the most traditional, and like all traditions, it allows for many variations.  For years, variations and more variations have been introduced where the traditional ingredients are concerned, those being none other than desalted cod and red pepper.

We have opted for this one but as we said, you can invent your own ‘’empedrat’’ or ‘’esgarraet’’.  So what is the secret of this cold salad that  makes you want to lick your fingers? The answer is simple: being generous with the extra virgin olive oil.  You will see why you’ll want to lick the dish clean because that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

So, let’s stop beating about the bush and present you with the ingredients and the  instructions for preparation.  You’ll see that it’s as easy as anything.  What you have to bear in mind  is that it’s  the simplest pleasures which often delight our taste buds the most.

Ingredients for 4 people

  • One piece of cod, soaked in water to remove the salt and broken up
  • 1 red pepper, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 green pepper, chopped into small pieces
  • 6 red tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • 250 g  haricot beans
  • Black olives, as many as you like, sliced
  • 1 onion, very finely chopped

 

Note: You have to prepare the vegetables to your liking.  If you like them chopped up larger or smaller, it is not going to make any difference to the taste of the dish. We have chosen to chop them up finely because we consider it makes it easier for those people who like ‘’to dip their bread’’ into what they are eating.

Ingredients for the dressing

Preparation

  1. The first thing you have to do is mix all of the ingredients to make the dressing.
  2. Next, add the onion to the cod, which you have previously desalted and broken up into small pieces. Mix together well.
  3. Now, put the pepper into a bowl and add Stir well.
  4. Do the same now as in number 3 but with the tomato.
  5. Take a deep mould and put the ingredients into it in layers.
  6. Put it into the fridge.
  7. When it has chilled to the temperature of your choosing, remove from the mould and serve.
  8. If you don’t have time to show off  your  presentation skills and all you want is to enjoy what you’ve prepared as quickly as possible, you can serve it in an earthenware bowl similar to what you can see in the picture.

In the Comunidad Valenciana, ‘’esgarraet’’ or ‘’espancao’’ is very typical for breakfast.  It is a must on the important days of big festivities in many towns and villages.  The festivities can’t begin until it has been eaten and obviously, in good company, too.  And one more thing, in this area, it is also normal to use tuna.

We hope that you have liked this dish and we would love you to prepare it at home.

 

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