Spain’s cuisine is very regional, and varies drastically from province to province. The main reason for this is that not only was Spain settled by different ethnic groups and cultures, but weather variances and geographic differences from province to province have had a deep influence on it’s cuisine. The ingredients all of Spain have in common are olive oil (we have a fantastic one from Spain called CampoSur, and it is on sale this week for $11.29!)
garlic, and fish. Spain is bordered on three sides by water, so a lot of the recipes are seafood based.
The Spanish, like most of Europe, eat their largest meal in the afternoon, with a lighter meal later in the evening at around 8 or 9 pm.
I have chosen a few typically Spanish recipes to share with you, and a few that are not so typical!
This famous Spanish Soup is made with raw blended vegetables, and is traditionally served cold (but I always eat mine warmed up!) According to Wikipedia, “Traditionally, gazpacho was made by pounding the vegetables in a mortar with a pestle; this more laborious method is still sometimes used as it helps keep the gazpacho cool and avoids the foam and the completely smooth consistency created by blenders and food processors. A traditional way of preparation is to pound garlic cloves in a mortar, add a little soaked stale bread, then olive oil and salt, to make a paste. Then very ripe tomatoes and vinegar are added. In the days before refrigeration the gazpacho was left in an unglazed earthenware pot to cool by evaporation, and some water added.“
Paella- Tamara Murphy for Food & Wine
There are SO MANY variations of this recipe, it was hard to choose just one. The nice thing about Paella is that you can follow the base recipe, and add or remove ingredients as wanted or needed. You should always use a round grain rice like Bomba or Arborio. We carry Voyages Arborio rice, on sale right now for $10.99
All paellas start with a sofrito, here is a GREAT recipe! Many also include Saffron, which we sell from Natures Choice, and it’s on sale this week for $7.49!
However, given how expensive saffron generally is, a lot of chef’s have opted instead to use a Spanish smoked paprika (which also gives Paella some of the “smoke” it normally gets from being cooked on an open flame. Paella is traditionally cooked over an open fire in a paellera, a pan that was purpose made for this dish.
This recipe would fall more under the “Spanish style” or “influenced by Spanish cuisine” category. I chose it because it is an awesome breakfast side with eggs and spicy choritzo, or even with roasted chicken for a dinner side.
Empanada Gallega– Cooking Light
Empanada are great hand held “on-the-go” food! This pork version is very typically Spanish, and a great starter recipe for your first steps into the world of Spanish cuisine. These are also great party food for the next time you have a crowd.
I am including Sangria in this list, because for me, it was so quintessentially Spain. Except it’s not. Not really. The second I got to Spain I ordered some sangria. I expected a house made version that would knock my socks off, but what I got was a sugary sweet red wine-ish juice thing from a tetra pack. I learned that sadly, while Sangria’s roots are definitely Spanish, it’s kind of a tourist thing.
However, that doesn’t mean its not the best summer drink EVER! I would say that you can probably get a better sangria in North America than in Spain though.
Espinacas Con Garbonzos– Lauren Aloise
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this spinach and chick pea stew, it is hearty and very delicious! This version is vegan, but it is also a great base for which you can add whatever you like. In my case, bacon. These are generally served in small clay dishes as a “tapas”, or “snack”.