Dishes from Spain
The Spanish cuisine is one of the most rewarding cuisines that have been created: Both history and geography have intertwined to give the Spanish cuisine its special flavour. The Romans have contributed to the Spanish cuisine as well as the Americans: From America came the tomato, potato, sweet potato, vanilla, and chocolate, various varieties of beans, zucchini and pepper.
The golden spice saffron is an essential element of many Spanish dishes like paella, while there are several Spanish dishes made from beans. Fresh ingredients are always used in Spanish foods, whether it is meat, poultry, game or fish.
The culinary traditions of Spain are different in all its regions: In Galicia, which is the northwestern area, there is an array of seafood, meat dishes and fish pies. Dishes of scallop and fine veal are well known and the legendary bean dish, fabada, also comes from this area.
In the Basque country the fish dishes are popular; like fish soup, garlicy baby eels, squid, and a variety of dried cod dishes.
The most gastronomically famous and exciting region of Spain for food is Cataluna. Its creative cuisine has fish like mixed seafood zarzuela, meats or poultry and in a dish this is often combined with local fruits. Paella is the most famous dish of most regions.
The tapas tradition of the Spaniards is known all over the world, and they can be found in every bar and every village. There are simple and complex tapas which include cheese, fish, eggs, vegetable dishes, canapes and savoury pastries. A number of tapas together can make up a meal, and an excellent one too, although traditionally it is a small taster to be eaten alongside an aperitif or other drink. The name Tapa comes from it’s meaning- lid, and began with the farmers in the fields placing a slice of bread on top of their glass as a lid (tapa) to keep flies out. They would then nibble the bread to soak up the wine they had drunk. This led to them adding a slice of cheese or ham as well, and today’s tapas evolved from there.
The Spanish sausage Chorizo and the blood sausage Morcilla are used also in many dishes.
The Ham Croquette is a type of tapa which is smooth, creamy and absolutely delicious. A croqueta is a mix of bechamel and ham or meat, which is lightly breaded and fried, and is relatively small in size. The filling could also be vegetarian or it could have bits of chicken breast. Another popular tapa, which is available in all the tapas bars in Spain are the spicy pork kebabs, called Pinchos Morunos.
One of the most popular Spanish dishes is the Spanish omelette, which is called the Tortilla Espanola or the tortilla de patata. It is a very common dish made with eggs, potatoes and onions, and generally cut into small squares and put on a baguette and served as a snack.
The fish or bean soup makes a great Spanish meal. Paella, shellfish and game birds are very much a part of the Spanish cuisine. Baby lamb and pig are grilled in a wood burning oven, and the spices used are thyme, rosemary and oak.
Some quick snacks ideal for a quick party could also be from the Spanish cuisine. The jamon serrano or de pais are both delicious and are cured rather than cooked. There are many varieties of hams used for Spanish dishes and salads. Just add some cheese and eat it with a baguette, drink a glass of Spanish wine and you can even call it a dinner.