Traditional Spanish food is influenced by the Greek, Roman, Phoenician and Moorish settlements. Spanish food is not only about tortillas and paella. The rich smorgasbord of Spanish food recipes can leave a seasoned gourmand spellbound. Allow us to introduce you to some of Spain's gastronomic delights and acquaint you with some of the traditional Spanish food menus.
Traditional Spanish Food
Garlic, olives and sweet and hot peppers are important ingredients in most Spanish recipes. Meat, poultry, game and fish feature prominently in traditional Spanish food recipes. Savory pies and rice dishes are meals in themselves. The Basque country features fish dishes principally, such as fish soup, garlicky baby eels, squid, and a variety of dried cod dishes.
The seafood from the Galicia region is famous as are the casseroles from Cataluna. Cataluna is a premier Spanish region that boasts of gastronomical delicacies - bet it mixed seafood zarzuela, fine sausages and regional sauces. The rice dishes are a specialty of Valencia and surrounding regions of Spain. While Andalucia is known for its fried fish and gazpacho, Central Spain is renowned for its succulent roast recipes. Spanish breakfast food is generally light.
Most Spanish breakfasts consists of coffee and a croissant or roll. Tortillas or omelets are also eaten for breakfast. The lunch (la comida) and the dinner (la cena) menus are fairly elaborate. The Spanish Tapas or snacks are popular. A Tasca or Tapas bar is a place where most Spaniards relax at the end of the day. The traditions of Tapas or snacks that accompany a wine or alcoholic drink dates back to a Spanish king. Spanish Tapas menus can encompass simple dishes made of cheese and eggs or more elaborate canapés, dips and savory pastries.
Spanish Food Menu
An important specialty Spanish food is jamon Serrano or a special ham that is salt-cured. This type of Spanish ham is not smoked. Sausages are also very popular in the Spanish diet. Chorizo and Salchichon are examples of hard sausages while sobrasada is a soft and spreadable sausage. A Spanish menu is accompanied by a Spanish red wine. The Rioja and Montilla are famous though there are many varieties of tintos, blancos and rosadas. Salads and fried potatoes come as entrees in a typical Spanish food menu. Desserts are made of eggs, ground almonds, flour and milk.
Spanish Food Recipe
Gazpacho (This ice-cold raw soup originated from the Andalucia region of Spain and is a traditional Spanish dish that finds many takers on sultry summer days.)
6 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1-2 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
6 or more drops of Tabasco sauce to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 cups tomato juice
Blend all the ingredients slightly and allow to blend overnight in the refrigerator.
(Paella is a traditional rice dish of Spain - made with seafood, chicken, rabbit or vegetables. The rice you use in your paella depends on your preference - whole grain rice or wild rice or the short grained Spanish rice which is used for traditional Spanish rice dishes.)
4 cups rice
8 cups stock
8 - 10 each of prawns and mussels
200 gm shrimps
2 tomatoes chopped
3 -4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Few strands of saffron
Sauté garlic in a pan with little oil. Add tomatoes, shrimps and saffron and cook till soft. Add rice and stock and salt and cook for about 20 minutes. Add prawns and mussels and cook for a few minutes more with a lid.
Spanish Natillas (A traditional Spanish dessert)
1 liter milk
8 egg yolks
200 gm sugar
1 tsp corn flour
Heat milk in a pan, after keeping a half a glass aside. Dissolve corn flour in the milk kept aside. Add eggs yolks beaten with sugar. Add this mixture to the milk when it boils. Keep stirring until it thickens. Sprinkle with cinnamon powder.
4 pieces of sword fish
3 tsp oregano
4 cloves garlic chopped fine
fresh basil and parsley
juice of a lemon
salt and pepper
Sprinkle olive oil on the pieces of sword fish and leave till you prepare the sauce. Heat some olive oil and add chopped basil and parsley and finely chopped onions. Season with salt and pepper. Mix breadcrumbs, oregano, lemon juice and chopped garlic. Cook in an oven for about 10 minutes. Cook the sword fish on a hot griddle till golden brown. Pour herb sauce over the grilled fish pieces.
Spanish Breakfast dish
Tortilla de patatas
3 potatoes, peeled and sliced into thin pieces
1 onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped
Stir fry potatoes in oil till soft. Add onions, green pepper and fry for some time. Keep aside. Beat eggs and season with salt and pepper. Add the stir fried vegetables. Pour this mixture into a hot frying pan and cover with a lid and allow it to cook. Turn it over and let it cook both sides