Ensalada chilena (Chilean salad) is probably one of the most simple salads you will ever find. However, it is truly an institution in the country that is known as the “Land of Poets”.
What is ensalada chilena?
Ensalada chilena is the name of the national Chilean salad that is prepared mostly with tomato and onion. The name celebrates the colors of the Chilean flag with the red tomatoes and the white onion.
How to make Chilean salad?
The onion may be soaked in boiling salted water for a few minutes to tame its pungent and harsh flavor. It may also be soaked in cold water for an hour, or even pickled with vinegar. Unlike other common salads, it is interesting to note that Chileans typically do not add lemon juice or vinegar to the dressing.
Ensalada chilena is prepared by cutting the onion into very thin strips, also called en pluma (in feathers), referring to their lightness.
The tomatoes are typically peeled and cut in wedges, although they can also be diced.
The salad is then sprinkled with cilantro, and sometimes green chili. Other less common variations ca include garlic, parsley or oregano.
One of the most common versions of the Chilean salad is called nortina. It is popular in the north of Chile. The nortina version includes goat cheese, black olives and rocoto pepper.
Ensalada chilena is often served with grilled meats or fish, as well as with another very traditional Chilean dish called humitas, which are similar to tamales.
Similar salads throughout Latin America
Pico de gallo (also called salsa fresca or salsa cruda), is a Mexican salad prepared with chopped tomato, onion, cilantro, fresh serranos (jalapeños or habaneros), salt, and lime juice.
Salsa pebre is another Chilean favorite that you can find on all tables in the country, as it is offered with breads at most restaurants. Pebre is made with cilantro, chopped onion, olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, as well as puréed spicy aji peppers.
Aji picante is a popular Colombian salsa, which is more akin to a condiment than a salad, and which is typically made with scallions, cilantro, peppers. This spicy Colombian sauce is served with soups, sancocho, stews, rice, beans, as well as empanadas.
Ensalada chilena is extremely simple to make, ands although the ingredients are fairly common, the combination of them and the way they are cut and prepared, makes this salad a very unique dish that is the pride of every Chilean!
- 3 tomatoes
- 1 onion
- ½ bunch cilantro , chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Peel the tomatoes. You can peel them more easily by immersing them in hot water for a minute.
- Cut into wedges and arrange on a plate
- Thinly cut the onion. Immerse in hot water for 5 minutes, then drain.
Add the onion to the tomatoes and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
- Spray a little olive oil, sprinkle salt and crushed black pepper.
- Mix and serve.