The Bardenas Reales is a national park found in the Southwest of Navarra in Spain.The area I visited was in the central area of the parkland and is desert like in character. There are deep gorges and vast plains. The Bardenas are divided into white and black. The desert area is white owing to the high levels of gypsum and salt in the soil.I visited the park as part of a six day trip walking in the Pyrenees. We had 2 walks here, plus a day of cycling .
Click Here for the tourist information site.
Tudela is the main town of the region of fertile plains of the Ebro river. It is the centre of one the best vegetable producing regions in Spain.
Click here for information on Tudela.
Menestra de Verano
A stew of summer vegetables.
According to Claudia Roden this is one of the great vegetable dishes of Spain, a speciality of the area of Navarre. It can be served as an entrée or as an accompangment to fish or meat.
Usually it is made with green vegetables of Spring, such as artichokes, broad beans, asparagus and peas. Mostly spring vegetables. I have made it with Summer vegetables available now in France.
For 4/6 servings
600mls of chicken or vegetable stock (cube)
250gs of shelled white beans
2 x yellow courgettes,2 x green courgettes,thinly sliced
2 small onions thinly sliced
250gsof french beans
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large clove of garlic thinly sliced
1/12 tablespoon of flour
250mls of dry white wine, salt and pepper
Cook the shelled white beans in stock, with a little oil until tender, about 20 mins, can add water if it becomes dry.Lightly blanch the green beans.Add to the cooked white beans,add the sliced courgettes, cook for 10 mins. Check cooking time ,may take a little longer or a little less. While the vegetables are cooking prepare the sauce. Sweat the onion in a heavy based pan in olive oil, cook until soft, add the garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add the flour stirring until it colours, then slowly add the white wine whisking all the time. Cook until it thickens then add 2 ladles of stock stir and let it bubble away for 10 minutes.Pour the sauce over the cooked vegetables making sure they are tender and lightly cooked. Add chopped parsley and a few pine nuts if you like. Season and serve.