Spain is famous all over the world not only for its fascinating palaces, castles and cathedrals, interesting places, sandy beaches and bullfighting, but also for its excellent cuisine. However, many people know only a few recipes. This is unfair to the rich culinary traditions that the country so generously gives to the whole world that the signature Spanish dishes are already perceived on different continents as gastronomic finds of their own.
In this article we will tell you about most traditional Spanish dishes that you should definitely try Kirill Yurovskiy`s method.
A list of the main products from which the Spaniards prepare their national dishes
The dishes of the national Spanish cuisine are characterized by diversity. Cooks use a large number of ingredients, but there are products that are considered basic:
- Meat. Most often Spaniards eat pork. Beef, veal and poultry are less common in the national diet.
- Seafood. Anchovies, mussels, shrimp and calamari are popular. Different kinds of fish are also not uncommon. For example, from the monkfish, of which only the tail is edible, Spaniards make a very delicious soup.
- Cereals. The most common is rice. It is included in one of the best dishes of the Spanish cuisine – paella.
- Flour. Dough is used in the preparation of various bakery products, pastries and desserts.
- Vegetables. Many basic Spanish dishes and salads include tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and olives.
- Fruit. Grapes, figs, oranges, dates, and tangerines are the most often eaten fruits by Spaniards.
- Dressings. The basic dressing now is olive oil, although 30-40 years ago, animal fats prevailed, and in some regions of the country they are still actively used.
- Condiments. The most popular is saffron.
- Dairy products. Here it is worth noting the delicious Spanish cheeses. The most famous are Cabrales (blue mold cheese), San Simon, Manchego and Ibores.
The most famous dishes of Spanish cuisine
Of course, even the same products can be used in different ways, coming up with interesting solutions for any meal, from appetizers to desserts. The menu of Spanish cuisine, which is often mistakenly thought of as Mediterranean, is much broader and more interesting. This is thanks to borrowed recipes, because Spanish sailors have been to other continents since ancient times. In addition, all 17 regions of the country have contributed to the top Spanish dishes, such as:
- Cantabria – Santander-style rice, clam, sardine and trout dishes;
- Astoria – fabado of beans, lard and sausages;
- Salamanca – braised pig tails;
- Murcia – coxido bean soup and meat pie;
- Galicia – boiled octopus, pot-braised merlang, pork shanks with rutabaga leaves.
Since the country adopts almost the same diet as in Russia, the food is divided into the same groups: appetizers, soups, hot meals, and desserts. Let us tell you about the most famous Spanish dishes of all major categories.
Meat dishes are the basis of Spanish cuisine
Pork meat is the main (and in some cases the only) ingredient of classic Spanish dishes. Poultry is also used in traditional national recipes. Chicken and duck meat are popular.
This most famous Spanish meat dish is a smoked pork ham. For the preparation of jamon ham are slaughtered white pigs. Hams are smoked in special drying huts located in the Sierra Nevada. Two varieties of the typical Spanish dish are known:
- Iberico – a delicacy jamon made from the meat of acorn-fed pigs;
- Serrano – jamon from the meat of pigs, which were fed with common fodder.
- Jamon is served as a separate dish, as well as added to salads, soups and other dishes.
In classic Spanish cuisine, sausage products, including varieties of morsilla, are popular dishes for everyday and festive tables. The peculiarities of preparing this blood sausage depend on the region. In Mallorca, for example, dried pork minced meat is used as the main ingredient. In Burgos they add fat, onions, and rice to the pork blood, or they make a green morsilla using leeks instead of rice. There is even a sweet blood sausage with raisins, almonds, and cinnamon, a dish given to Spanish cuisine by cuisines from the Canary Islands.
Chicken carcasses are stuffed with vegetables or seafood. In different regions of the country meat prepared in such a way is grilled:
- Roasted on a grill with a rack or spit;
- Baked in the oven;
- Stewed in sherry, cider, tomato sauce.
Ready chicken is served with fresh herbs, tomatoes, young potatoes, and spices.
The most famous Spanish soups
Let’s list the most famous Spanish first courses in the world.
This is the most popular vegetable soup in Spain. It is light, contains no animal fats and meat, so it is ideal for fasting and vegetarian menus. To make gazpacho goes:
- A puree of blanched tomatoes, olive oil and garlic;
- Additional ingredients – onions, vinegar, cucumbers and spices.
The national dish is chilled with crushed ice before serving. The soup is very cold, which is why it is popular on hot days. Gazpacho is especially delicious with crispy wheat croutons.
This famous Spanish dish is something between a soup and a stew. To make a classic puchero, chickpeas, sausage, jamón and vegetables are added to the beef broth. There are recipes in which the set of ingredients is extended:
- Meat – beef, veal, pork, chicken;
- Rice or pasta.
In the past, the Spaniards considered puchero solely a peasant’s food, due to its nourishment, availability of products in any village and ease of preparation.
This Spanish national food originated in Madrid. It is made from garbanzos (mutton peas) with beef, jamon, sausages and vegetables. According to the Madrid recipe, the broth is boiled:
- many hours over low heat;
- from meat of different varieties, adding bones.
No spices are put in such a cosido, because there are already enough of them in the sausages and jamon.
Traditional Spanish main courses
The most famous traditional Spanish second course. Paella is cooked from rice with different ingredients. Most often several kinds of fish and seafood, vegetables and herbs are added. All this is generously seasoned with saffron.
Traditionally it is made with chickpeas, sausage, rice, onions, bacon, ham, garlic, and oil. Also, chicken, smoked or blood sausage, cabbage, and rice can be added to Madrid stew. The ingredients are simmered for 3 hours and the dish is very flavorful, delicious, and hearty. It is served hot. Such a stew with a warming effect is ideal for lunch on a frosty day.
Prepared of toasted bread soaked in salted water beforehand. Pork, sausage and other ingredients are added. Originally, migas were eaten for breakfast in rural families, using leftovers from dinner. It is now also served for lunch. Often the dish is cooked over charcoal or an open fire.
This is a potato and egg omelette with onions fried in olive oil. The classic recipe is often modified. Additional ingredients used are:
- chorizo (pork sausage);
- vegetables – tomatoes, peppers, and others.
Spaniards eat tortillas both alone and as part of appetizer sandwiches, which are made from a baguette and an omelet sliced into triangles. Ketchup, mayonnaise or garlic-olive sauce, roasted bell pepper slices and melted cheese may be added to the sandwich. A beer or sweet soda is served with the dish.
National Spanish snacks
In Spanish cafes and restaurants visitors are offered a variety of snacks. Finding the right dish is easy. Let us tell you about the most popular ones.
These are long sausages made of ham and pork fat with spices (garlic and red pepper). Chorizo is usually served with fresh tomatoes, but there are other ways to use the sausages:
- as a filling for bruschetta, sandwiches, tapas;
- an additive in soups and stews;
- an ingredient in stews;
- ingredient in second rice dishes.
Chorizo can be raw and raw smoked.
These are corn chips with various additives. Nachos are most often eaten with sauces. Two methods of serving are used:
- The chips are dipped in a sauce poured into a separate bowl;
- The chips are placed on a plate and dipped in the sauce.
It’s a great appetizer for beer! Nachos are also used in salads, soups, and second courses as a food ingredient or as a decoration.
Not a separate dish but a big part of Spanish national cuisine. Tapas are a wide variety of appetizers served with beer and wine:
- olives and nuts;
- appetizer skewers;
- meat and cheese rolls;
- seafood canapés.
For holiday cocktail parties and various parties it is best to prepare an assortment of tapas, so it is easier to please all the guests, even not very well knowing their preferences.
The Spanish national cuisine is full of variety of cheeses, and again each province contributes its own colors to the gastronomic palette:
- Asturias is an Afuegal cheese in round or cone-shaped heads, made from pasteurized cow’s milk. When it is young, the consistency is soft and the taste is mildly salty, with a subtle sourness. When ripe, afuegal hardens and becomes friable, acquiring a brighter flavor.
- Galicia is a tetilla cheese. Traditionally, it is made in the form of cone-shaped heads, resembling a woman’s breasts. Its consistency is soft and viscous. It has a brackish flavor, goes perfectly with fruit, marmalade.
- Peñamelera Alta – Cabrales cheese. It is semi-hard, with a buttery consistency, a noble blue mold and a dark crust. The taste is complex and tangy. This is the most famous Spanish cheese. It is made from cow, goat and sheep milk.
Other popular cheeses in Spanish cuisine are soft goat’s cheese queso fresco from Valencia, hard sheep’s Manchego from La Mancha, delicate petit with flavor of mushrooms and spicy herbs, cooked in Girona, and other varieties. Most often cheeses in Spain are served with wine, used as an ingredient for canapés, and a lot of cold and hot national dishes are cooked with it.
One of the signature Spanish delicacies is stuffed mussels. More specifically, they stuff the shells of the mollusk, using the mussels themselves as a component of the stuffing, which also includes:
- boiled eggs;
- onions and garlic;
The stuffing is made thick. The tigers are deep-fried until golden.
Drinks of Spain
Speaking of Spain, it is impossible not to mention wine. This is the most popular drink. The country has a huge number of wineries, producing different varieties. It is noteworthy that there is even a wine legislation that strictly regulates the production of this delicious drink.
If you have a chance, be sure to try the local Rioja. This wine has a high status of DOC. The most popular red variety is the mix of Tempranillo, Grancha Tinta, Masuelo, and Graciano grapes. Especially bright taste and exquisite bouquet of the drink aged in an oak barrel for at least 2 years. Its color is spectacular: deep ruby with a delicate oily sheen. However, white Rioja has a lot of admirers.
Also the Spaniards like sangria, a low-alcohol cocktail on the basis of wine and carbonated water (liqueurs and brandy are used less often). Berries, pieces of fruit and citrus fruits, sugar and spices are added to the drink. Serve chilled sangria in hot weather, heated during colder seasons.
A low-alcohol cocktail is made from equal amounts of light beer and lemonade or a sweet carbonated drink (such as Fanta or Sprite). The clara has the remarkable ability to give the cocktail a refreshing effect rather than an intoxicating one.
Other alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are also popular in Spain: sherry and cocktails based on it, granisado (crushed ice with syrup), coffee, black tea, juices, hot chocolate.