Xató is a refreshing salad has a tangy, enticing and alluring flavor. Though eaten in its native Spain in Winter, it is well suited to eating anytime elsewhere. Simply delightful.
- 2 heads curly endive
- 3 cloves garlic
- 8 almonds; peeled and toasted
- 1 or more sharp chili peppers (or powdered Cayenne pepper)
- 1/2 Cup olive oil
- 1/4 Cup wine vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoons salt
- * Note: See the "Small Marinated Fish..." (2) and the "White Bean Omelet" recipes - all are included in this database.
- The sauce can be made in 5 minutes in an electric blender: simply put all the ingredients in at once and beat until the almonds are reduced to fine particles. If you do not have a blender, crush the garlic and almonds in a mortar, add one or more finely chopped chili pepper, and mash to a smooth paste before gradually blending in the oil and vinegar.
- The number of peppers (or the amount of cayenne) you use depends on how sharp you like the sauce. When tasting the seasoning, bear in mind that the sauce will seem less sharp when mixed with the salad.
- For the Xato, take curly endive in quantity (two very large heads for six people), separate the leaves, and soak them in the Xato sauce for at least an hour in advance of the meal.
- Serve the salad in a large bowl, accompanied by platters of cured ham, a variety of cold sausages, fillets of anchovy, white bean omelet, and marinated fish.
Comments: Xato (pronounced cha-toh) is a Catalan dish traditionally eaten in January and February, the two coldest months, during which the Catalans find the sharp taste stimulating and warming, although they ordinarily use very little pepper in their food. It is during this season, too, that the heart of curly endive, which is the base of the dish, is whitest.
Generally served as a first course in Catalonia, Xato is substantial enough to constitute a supper or lunch.