TOP 10 FOODS TO TRY IN SPAIN
The reddest, ripest tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, bread, peppers and cucumber are blended until silky smooth, then chilled and poured into bowls or glasses. So delicious, so refreshing. In Andalucía in southern Spain, people have it every day in summer and there is always a jug on the counter in tapas bars. Also try salmorejo, a thicker version that is often served with pieces of Ibérico ham on the top. Recipe HERE
The name of the dish Paella comes from the vessel it is cooked in, quite simply a “La Paella”. This is a Valencian word and describes the round shallow pan with two handles that the ingredients are cooked in and traditionally then served in directly from the fire. The dish we all know and love today originated in Valencia and was a poor mans meal that has developed into one of Spains most popular and beloved dishes with variants of the recipe across the different provinces in Spain.
Some La Paellas are huge and you may have seen them being used at social occasions for large parties as the showcase centre piece.
Paella was originally the meal of peasants, cooked over an open wood fire in the rice fields that they worked in. The original dish was made of the rice from the fields and anything else they could throw in… Onions, tomatoes, snails, green beans anything for taste and texture. Duck and rabbit were also popular when available and this dish soon became such a popular meal of convenience that on special occasions chicken and saffron were added.
Due to the location of Valencia the Mediterranean Sea soon became a resource for the dish and sea food was added to the recipe. A real Valencian Paella today though is still the traditional peasants recipe and has no shell fish added and is simply a choice of chicken, duck, or rabbit, snails, green beans and garbanzos. Recipe HERE
Spanish tortilla is one of the most notorious Spanish dishes, widely consumed in Spain as much as abroad. It’s made of egg and potatoes. Whether it should also have onion is a common debate and Spaniards may argue about it for hours, however there are many other variations.
Perhaps Spanish tortilla is the most versatile example of Spanish food, since other ingredients such as chorizos, red peppers and a number of other elements can be added, it can be served as a “ración”, “tapa” or “bocadillo” (sandwich) or “pincho”.
It may be found in any Spanish restaurant and bars, it’s a typical sandwich mothers send as a meal for school and most Spanish know how to make it or have their own versions, they are served at parties as appetizers.
Tortilla’s name comes from its shape, in Spanish it means “small cake” Recipe HERE
Gambas al ajillo
Perhaps the most common, and therefore one of the most popular, tapa in Spain and in Spanish restaurants, gambas al ajillo, or fried garlic shrimp.
The hot tang of garlic and red pepper flake-infused extra virgin olive oil, perfectly coating tender pink shrimp (king prawns), makes for a luscious and satisying dish, especially when there’s plenty of crusty bread to mop up the magnificently flavorful oil.
The other great thing about this dish is that it’s pretty cheap and incredibly simple to make. Accompanied by a green salad and washed down with a chilled glass of fino or amontillado sherry, or perhaps a flute of cava, this is a great tapa/racione or a light lunch. Recipe HERE
Perhaps the most popular of tapas dishes, patatas bravas vary quite a bit around the country, but all versions involve chunks of fried potato, bravas sauce is made with sweet and spicy pimentón – Spanish paprika – olive oil, flour and stock – but never tomatoes. Some people add garlic, some a dash of fino sherry. Recipe HERE
Pollo al ajillo – Spanish garlic Chicken
A Spanish staple recipe – Unpeeled cloves of garlic are fried in olive oil to flavour it, then taken out before adding pieces of chicken. When that is cooked, the garlic goes back in with some rosemary, thyme and some dry sherry or white wine. Recipe HERE
This is roast baby pig. Its fatty outside is crisp and perfect for those who like pork rind, while its meat is tender and juicy and is absolutely beautiful. Often served at Christmas. Recipe HERE
The Spanish version of ratatouille turns. Onions, garlic, courgettes, peppers and tomatoes are slow fried in olive oil – this is not a dish that likes to be rushed. It is usually served as a starter, sometimes with fried eggs or chorizo, but is great as a side dish too.
Put the olive oil into a frying pan, and gently fry the garlic and onions for a couple of minutes. Add the peppers and turn up the heat a little. Cook for five minutes, stirring all the time. Add the courgette, stir and cook for five more minutes and then add the tomatoes.
Spaniards devour massive amounts of turrón, or almond nougat, at Christmas, although it is available all year round. Most of it is made in the small town of Jijona in the province of Alicante, using locally-grown almonds mixed with honey and egg white. There are two basic types – a soft, smooth version, called Jijona, and hard Alicante turrón, which contains pieces of almond. Recipe HERE