I don’t know about you, but there are some days when it’s just feels too hot or I’m too sapped of energy to cook. We have had a few of them recently. Sometimes, these will be days when we quickly grill something or make an easy pasta, but they can also be when uncooked meals are the perfect fit. While I didn’t live in Madrid during the height of summer, it was still pretty hot some days and certainly Spain knows how to create meals that work for hot weather, as these tasty uncooked tapas dishes show. You can mix and match a range of dishes, but here I’ve gone for a few favorites that are easy to prepare and provide a range of flavors that all come together to make a delicious meal.
While there are many tapas that need cooked, there are also many that don’t which are great for when you can’t even face the stove/oven/toaster or any other appliance. True, I’ve used some leftover cooked potatoes in one dish but everything else you just put the ingredients together to make some simple but tasty dishes. Some are so easy I’d hardly call them recipes. I’m going to go through each in turn so you can see how easy they are, before summing all up in the ‘recipe’ below. It might look like a lot of ingredients and dishes, but nothing takes much preparation and the fun of tapas is to try lots of little dishes among a group, and you can mix and match your favorites.
Pan tomate con jamon – Bread with tomato and ham
Pan tomate (or pa amb tomaquet, if I am being fair to its Catalan origins) is a classic in Spanish tapas, that you often get without even asking on the side. Bread is topped with a mix of tomato, olive oil and garlic. As I traditionally learned in Catalunya, where it originates, you rub toasted bread with a garlic clove, then rub it with the cut side of a tomato and drizzle on olive oil, but in other parts of Spain, it’s common to make a tomato, garlic and oil blend to then spread over the bread, toasted or untoasted – today I’ll be doing the latter version. It’s so simple but so tasty, you can enjoy it with anything, but it is particularly common to top it with serrano ham. If you can’t get serrano ham, then prosciutto is a close alternative.
Gazpacho – Chilled tomato/vegetable soup
I shared a recipe for gazpacho a couple weeks ago, but in case you missed it, don’t worry, it’s also very simple – just blend up some tomato, cucumber, green pepper, garlic, olive oil and season with a little vinegar. You can add a bit bread to thicken it as well, then serve chilled.
Ensaladilla rusa – Russian salad/potato salad
Somewhere along the way the Spanish have adopted what they call Russian salad by adapting a potato salad, which was probably more commonly made with ham originally, as their own. It can be simply potato, mayonnaise and peas but it’s commonly a mix of carrots and peas and tuna in there as well, along with some red onion, oil and vinegar. A great way to use up leftover cooked potatoes, it goes with pretty much anything and was something we’d often get as part of a selection of tapas when I lived in Spain.
Ensalada de naranja y aguacate – Orange and avocado salad
Many Spanish salads are incredibly simple, as you can see is the case here. Simply slices of oranges, avocado, red onion and some black olives lightly dressed with oil and vinegar. Many Spanish dishes are all about using good quality ingredients and letting them shine and it would be fair to say this is one of them.
Manchego y membrillo – Manchego cheese and quince paste
Manchego is a classic Spanish cheese and a common way to serve it is with membrillo, a quince paste. I can get both Manchego and membrillo in my local Wholefoods but if you can’t get them, another good-quality flavorful hard cheese (ideally aged sheep’s milk to be in similar style) and honey can be substituted. The two together are a lovely pairing, either alone or on top of bread. It can often be seen as a dessert option in restaurants in Spain, as well.
None of these dishes take more than a few minutes to make so they are perfect for a Weekday Supper, as I am sharing this meal to be part of. As you might have guessed, this week’s theme is meals that don’t require any cooking and you can see the other ideas other bloggers have created as the week progresses below.
For gazpacho ingredients and recipe, follow this link.
- Bread with tomato and ham, manchego and membrillo -
- 1 small baguette or similar bread
- 1 packet serrano ham (or prosciutto)
- 1 tomato
- 1 clove garlic
- ½tbsp olive oil
- dash to ¼tsp salt
- 1 small block Manchego cheese
- 1 small block membrillo/quince paste
- Ensaladilla rusa/Russian or potato salad -
- approx 9-10oz cooked potato
- 1x 8.5oz/240g can of peas and carrots
- 1x 5oz/140g can of tuna (in water)
- ½ small red onion
- 4 tbsp mayonaise
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- ½tbsp red wine vinegar
- Orange and avocado salad -
- 2 oranges
- 1 avocado
- a few slices of red onion
- a handful black olives
- drizzle olive oil and red wine or sherry vinegar
- First blend the tomato, garlic, olive oil and salt in a blender to make the spread for the bread. Set aside while you make everything else. You can use the blender again without the need to clean it to make the gazpacho since the ingredients are similar (see separate recipe, link above).
- Make the Russian salad by peeling the cooked potato and dicing into relatively small pieces (approx ⅓in/1cm) then placing in a bowl.
- Drain and rinse the peas and carrots and drain the tuna, add both to the bowl. Finely dice the onion then add this as well. Add the mayonnaise, oil and vinegar and mix all together, being careful not to break up the potato too much.
- Make the orange and avocado salad by peeling the oranges and cutting in medium slices across the segments (so like stars). Cut the avocado in half, peel then cut it in slices. Arrange both on a plate and lay a few slices of red onion and some olives over the top then drizzle on a little olive oil and red wine vinegar.
- Finally, slice up your bread, spread on a little of the tomato-garlic-oil mixture then lay on some of the ham. Cut some slices of the manchego cheese and lay on a plate then top each slice with a piece of the membrillo.
- Enjoy lots of delicious flavors in any order you choose.
These tapas dishes are all simple but delicious, and combine to make a great summer’s meal. Pick out your favorites, or make them all and enjoy!
See all the no-cook weekday suppers being shared this week:
Monday – Cobb Salad Bar by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Tuesday – Simple Summer Spanish Tapas by Caroline’s Cooking
Wednesday – Italian Pressed Sandwich by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Thursday – Southwestern Corn Salad by The Redhead Baker
Friday – Trio Salad by The Freshman Cook