I have been eating pipirrana de Jaén for almost as long as I’ve been living in Spain, but never knew it had a name. It has various regional versions, but today’s recipe is the Jaén version.
This easy to make salad makes a fantastic base salad to add fish to. Tuna, octopus, squid – even anchovies. It also makes a change from the usual mayonnaise potato salad which, although lovely, can get a bit boring after a while. It’s also great as an alternative to salsa, for those weirdos among you that don’t like chilli in their food (kidding!). Give this one a go – refreshing and tasty!
The basic ingredients are onion, tomato, cucumber and green pepper (that’s a capsicum for our American readers) but of course you can go crazy with extras. We’ll look at some suggestions after the recipe. In Jaén city, tinned tomatoes are often used and also tinned tuna. These tinned tommies give extra juice and without any skin to worry about. It also gives a much runnier consistency and is great for dunking bread into… to mop up the juices.
Ingredients (serves two as a side dish… or four as a tapa)
- One large onion, peeled and finely diced
- One large green pepper, cored and finely diced
- Two large (or 3 medium) tomatoes, finely diced
- Half a cucumber, finely diced
- A good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- About the same amount of white wine vinegar
- Pinch each of salt and pepper
- Chuck everything in a bowl
- Stir well
- Pop in the fridge for an hour
- Serve cold
See how simple that was?
Spain Buddy Tips
Okay – so how about some inspiration of other ingredients to pop in. Use as many or as few as you like. Think of this salada as a base and let yourself go nuts! Remember of course that as soon as you add extra ingredients it is no longer pipirrana de Jaén in name. Just ensure that you always keep the four core ingredients of onion, tomato, cucumber and green pepper and that everything is finely diced (unless stated otherwise).
- One tin of tuna (drained well and flaked)
- One large potato, peeled, diced and boiled until just soft
- Two hardboiled eggs, peeled and quartered
- One red pepper (finely diced)
- Two garlic cloves (peeled and minced)
- A fistful of croutins per person (it is fantastic with these – but don’t add them until you’re about to serve)
- One small tin of cooked sweetcorn (drained)
- Mackerel fillets (for a Cadíz version)
- Finely shredded lettuce and black olives (for the version from Murcia)
- A few cooked and peeled prawns
- A few rings of cooked quid
- Some cooked octopus tentacles, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- “Crab” sticks, chopped into bite sized pieces
- Cockles – a good fistful for each person
- Mussels (shell off of course) – a good fistful for each person
This salad is great piled onto crackers or mini toasts… or used as a side dish… or simply wolfed on its own for a light snack.