Alozaina is a small village situated on the edge of the Sierra de las Nieves Natural Park, about 45 minutes inland of Marbella, Spain. It’s not a well known tourist town at all, with a population of about 2,300 people, but the village is charming with an interesting history and the surrounding area has some absolutely fantastic scenery. There are no tourist shops and life here is typically Spanish, it takes me forever to get into the rhythm of the way things work here, nothing opens until at least 10:00am, and then closes again for lunch at 14:00 before reopening at about 17h00. You cannot get lunch in restaurants before 14:00, but you can get a drink and tapas before that. Always small plates of something, different on most days…little plates of red pepper salad, potatoes and green beans, pork in tomato sauce and mugs of gazpacho.
Most small towns in this region of Spain have a market day. The village of Alozaina has its market on Tuesday’s. Sadly I think, like a lot of places in the world, what used to be a traditional place to bring your produce for sale seems to have turned into an outlet for cheap clothing, shoes, toys, fake toiletries and handbags. It is however an extremely interesting place to people watch, have a wander around the village and there is always an enticing stand of fresh, colourful, seasonal fruit and vegetables. Oh, and of course the buckets of marinated olives and other pickles which make it worth the trip!
We found some gorgeous looking “ensalada” tomatoes…….
and tiny little pears that we also get in Morocco for a very short period of time.
So after a long hot day, the best way to use up all the seasonal fresh ingredients, a lovely al fresco dinner with an amazing view.
1 Large Salad Tomato
1 pack of mixed cherry tomatoes
1 red pepper
½ cup caperberries
1 small bunch of chives, chopped
1 small bunch fresh basil, shredded
2 Tbs Jerez Sherry Vinegar
4 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small shallot, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Chop tomatoes and mix together with the herbs and caperberries.
Mix together the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad.
Serves 4 as a side dish.
Pear and Serrano Ham “Bruschetta”
1 small baguette, sliced diagonally into about 1 cm slices
Few slices Serrano ham
50g Gorgonzola or other Blue Cheese
50 Philadelphia Light Cream Cheese
A few slices of pear, use normal pears if you can’t find the small ones
Small amount of butter
Sea salt and black pepper
Drizzle the sliced baguette with olive oil and grill for about a minute on each side. Put aside.
Mix together the blue and cream cheeses, set aside.
Melt the butter in a pan and when bubbling, add the pears. Cook until slightly golden.
Assemble the bruschetta by placing a few rocket leaves on the baguette, followed by the cheese, Serrano Ham and finally the pears.
Season with some sea salt and black pepper.
Served with a beetroot and baby mozzarella salad and cracked green olives.