Trempo used to be a Majorcan farmer’s summer salad dish for mid-morning and continues to be very popular in Mallorca.
This refreshing vegetarian salad recipe is perfect for hot days and it can be an appetizer or an accompaniment, and it has the added bonus that it’s very easy to make.
In Catalan from Majorca the name of this salad recipe, trempo, pronounced tram-pOH, comes from the verb trempar, which means: to season to make food tastier.
In the hot Mediterranean summers, farmers ate it often, even for breakfast. It is, in fact, a communal dish like paella. You put the summer salad in the center, and everybody eats from the same dish scooping it up with country-style brown Majorcan bread and the fingers as needed. Forks were never used.
Trempo Salad Ingredients
The size of the vegetables is a matter of personal preference. Some people like wedges, others like cubes and again some like smaller or larger pieces. The trempo will be just as delicious.
Serves 4 as appetizer
- 4 slightly green tomatoes —neither green nor ripe
- 2 large green peppers —cored and seeded. The best are the Majorcan peppers like in the photo below, but green Italian peppers are also good
- 1 onion, sweet if possible —If the onion is too strong, soak it half an hour in water
- Olive oil to taste
- A handful olives —optional
- A dash of vinegar —optional
How to Make Trempo Summer Salad
- Wash the vegetables
- Dice or cut the tomatoes into wedges and place them in a salad bowl.
- Core and seed the peppers and cut them in rings, and then in half. Add them to the bowl with the tomatoes. Many people swear that you mustn’t use a knife to cut the peppers, so use your hands instead.
- Peel the onion and cut it into wedges, and then in half.
- Add the onion to the salad.
- If you choose to add olives, add them now.
- Add salt to taste
- Drizzle olive oil liberally and mix well but gently. The best way to know if you have added enough olive oil and salt is to taste it. It is impossible to give you an exact amount for this recipe.
- Add the optional vinegar
The vegetable salad is now ready to be served. But if you let it rest for a while, it will taste even better.
Variations of the Trempo Summer Salad
If you want to do like in the small town of Porreres in Majorca, add two diced apricots. In Porreres they grow lots and lots of apricots, so it’s a great way to use them in the summer season. Apart from being even more juicy, apricots add another bright orange color to this simple vegetarian salad
Some people add capers, apple dices, pear dices, sea fennel or even potatoes.
In other Mediterranean regions you find similar summer salad recipes. One particular version of this Majorcan salad adds crushed plain Majorcan biscuits. You could replace them with bits of dry or toasted bread or even bits of Melba toasts. This reminds us of the leftover dried pita bread added to the Arabic fattoush salad.
Trempo Brings Many Memories to Majorcans
Here’s how Tonina Oliver, a very popular Majorcan cook and cookbook writer, reveals to us the magic of this traditional vegetable salad on the island of Majorca.
When little by little the concert of the cicadas reaches that orchestral screech. When you are restlessly awaiting the first cool breeze of the evening to have a bite under a fig tree: This is the perfect time for trempo. Or for cuttlefish with trempo.
Les millors receptes de la cuina mallorquina (Best Recipes of Majorcan Cuisine)
Or for coca de trempo as well, another version of the Catalan coca de recapte, which is great for breakfast, tea time, appetizer or main course.
Regarding the Summer Salad Ingredients
Try to buy the best fresh vegetables. This vegetable salad is based on simplicity as so many vegetable salad recipes. Indeed, when prepared with fresh ingredients, this Mediterranean diet dish is surprisingly delicious.
Also, try to get light green long peppers, perhaps you’ll find Italian ones which are similar to the Majorcan ones. Green bell peppers aren’t traditionally used for this cold appetizer, but if there is nothing else available, they will do well as long as they are sweet. Sweet banana peppers could work too.
Use white onions or any other sweet variety. Likewise choose heirloom or natural tomatoes, which are slightly green.
As with paella, there are endless discussions about which is the really authentic recipe. I have given you the traditional trempo recipe as I make it.