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Tuna and Curly Endive Salad with Romesco Vinaigrette (Xató)

Tuna and Curly Endive Salad with Romesco Vinaigrette (Xató)
Curly endive, with its pale green and white leaves and pleasantly bitter taste, is the basis for this wonderful winter salad of Barcelona. Here, the endive is topped with tuna and then dressed with a piquant vinaigrette adapted from the region's classic almond-based romesco sauce. The salad is also sometimes made with salt cod or a mixture of tuna and salt cod.

Ingredients:

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1 cup almonds, toasted
  • 1 Tbs. chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp. red pepper flakes or 1/2 tsp. cayenne
      pepper, or to taste
  • 1 large red bell pepper, roasted, peeled,
      seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 3 small heads curly endive, leaves separated
      and torn into pieces
  • 2 cans (each 6 oz.) tuna in olive oil, drained
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered
      lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup oil-cured black olives

Directions:

To make the vinaigrette, in a food processor, combine the almonds, garlic and red pepper flakes. Pulse until the mixture is the consistency of fine crumbs. Add the bell pepper and pulse to combine. Pour in the vinegar and process until pureed. Gradually add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream, processing until the oil is emulsified and the vinaigrette is the consistency of thick cream. If it is too thick, thin with a little water. Season with salt and black pepper.

Distribute the endive leaves evenly among individual plates. Break up the tuna into bite-size pieces and arrange it on top of the endive. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the top and garnish with the hard-cooked eggs and olives. Serve immediately.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Spain & Portugal, by Joyce Goldstein (Time-Life Books, 2000).