Everybody knows that the Mediterranean diet is one of the best in the world so today SpainStruck is delighted to present a foodie article by guest writer, Marta López, on five wonderful Spanish dishes.
5 Out-Of-This-World Spanish Dishes
From the rainy North to the arid and mysterious South, Spain is without doubt one of the best destinations for food lovers. We Spanish know that wherever we go in the country, our food will always be warm and welcoming. I guess it’s because food is a passion for Spanish people and also because it’s clearly evident that every region has a well defined personality. Behind each regional cuisine there are hundreds of stories and recipes; here are my favourite Spanish dishes from the North West of Spain to the South. ¡Qué aproveche!
1. Barcelona: Pan tumaca
Pan tumaca is a traditional Catalonian snack that you will find at any tasca or on any restaurant menu when you visit the region. If you have the chance, don’t hesitate to order some serrano ham to make it even more tasty. How is it possible that four ingredients can make such a delicious dish? Bread, tomato, garlic and olive oil are everything you need! Remember that in some places you can also ask for a bocadillo de lomo y queso (pork and cheese sandwich) with pa amb tomàquet, as it’s known in Catalan.
How to eat it: Get some manchego cheese and ham to accompany this dish.
Travelling to Barcelona? Visit Cinc Sentits for new Catalan cuisine (Carrer d’Aribau 58).
2. Ourense: Pulpo a la gallega
This is without any doubt the most popular dish in Galicia, a fertile, green part of North WestSpain. Pulpo a la gallega has always been part of Galician cuisine, which is mostly about seafood, fish and meat. But if there is one placewhere octopus has been served over the years, it´s Ourense, which is the only province in Galicia that is not by the sea.
Here you will see how the locals eat this dish following the traditional style which is called pulpo á feira.
How to eat it: This is a meal to enjoy either with your family or a group of friends. And please, don´t forget the paprika or the olive oil!
Travelling to Ourense? Visit Las Termas de Outariz (Rúa do Fondo do Lugar, Ourense).
3. Madrid: Cocido madrileño
Cocido madrileño is the kind of dish that you need on a very cold winter´s day. It´s made of vegetables, sausage, chickpeas, meat, garlic and potatoes. This dish takes time to cook properly, so don´t get desperate if you are in Madrid and you order it in a tasca! Although the cocido madrileño is the most famous cocido in the country, it´s important to rememberthat there are also variations on this chickpea stew in different places like Andalusia or Galicia.
How to eat it: Don´t forget to add some Extra Virgin olive oil before serving it.
Travelling to Madrid? Stay at Vincci Vía 66 (Gran Vía 66, Madrid).
4. Valencia: Fideuà
This is very similar to paella but instead of rice it comes with the fideu, a sort of noodle that, like paella rice, becomes slightly yellow because of the saffron used. Although there are variations throughout the county, Fideuà is usually made with fish and seafood.
History tells us that this recipe was invented one day when some sailors wanted to cook a paella but because they knew the Captain would eat most of it, they tried the recipe with noodles instead. Apparently, to their chagrin, the greedy Captain loved the dish anyway. Today the question is: is there anyone in this country who doesn’t like this dish?
How to eat it: Add some alioli to your plate and don’t forget the bread!
Travelling to Valencia? Visit Casa de l’ Orxata (Jorge Juan, Mercado de Colón, Valencia).
5. Córdoba: Salmorejo
For me this is one of the best summer dishes from the South of Spain and it´s said that the origins of this recipe can be traced back to prehistory. We could describe it as a sort of “cold and creamy tomato soup” made with tomatoes, vinegar, a little garlic and of course, olive oil.
Although it’s similar to gazpacho, this kind of purée has a more orange appearance. Like most traditional dishes, salmorejo can also have many variations depending on where it is made.
How to eat it: Garnish the salmorejo with diced serrano ham and hard-boiled eggs.
Travelling to Córdoba? Visit Bodegas Campos (Calle Lineros, 32, Córdoba).
About the Author
Marta López is a travel and lifestyle writer based in London. With a degree in Communication Sciences from Santiago de Compostela, Spain, she loves cooking new recipes as well as travelling, photography, cinema (especially French films) and literature. When she isn’t writing her first novel on her laptop she can be found around London searching for the best Spanish restaurants. You can follow Marta on twitter @Martazepol.