Spain is a country where food is very important. There are a lot of traditional dishes and they are part of the Spanish culture and heritage. Moreover, the climate differences in the territory allow a wide variety of culinary delights. If you are planning on taking a trip around Spain to taste as many dishes as possible, this article on Spanish dishes and their places of origin is perfect for you. But you can also try and recreate these meals yourself, and experience Spanish cuisine in your own home!
1. Gazpacho in Andalusia
Gazpacho is a cold soup from the autonomous community of Andalusia. You typically make it from raw vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, or onions that you blend with garlic, olive oil, wine vinegar, water, stale bread, and spices. You can eat Gazpacho by itself or with hard-boiled eggs, chopped ham, or almonds for example. The original recipe comes from Andalusia, but each region has its version of Gazpacho, adjusting it to the ingredients that available in the area. This cold soup is ideal in summer when it is too hot to eat a warm meal. Click here to find an Andalusian Gazpacho recipe and make this for yourself!
2. Spanish Dishes: Paella in Valencia
Paella Valenciana is a rice dish from the autonomous community of Valencia. This region is on the South coast of Spain, by the Mediterranean Sea. Paella is one of the best-known dishes from Spain. The traditional Valencian paella is made with rice, green beans, rabbit, chicken, as well as spices like saffron and turmeric. However, it is more common to eat the paella de marisco, or seafood paella. In this type of paella, chicken and the other kinds of meat are replaced by seafood. Essentially, there are a lot of different versions of this dish, and this allows you to adjust it according to your taste. Here you can learn how to make chicken and seafood paella.
3. Spanish omelette anywhere
You can find Spanish omelette or Spanish tortilla all over Spain and it has no clear geographical origins. This type of omelette is made with eggs, potatoes, and onions. You can eat this dish either hot, at room temperature, and even cold. It is often served as a tapa, bite-sized to accompany your drink at a bar. Spanish omelette is a very simple and convivial dish that you can easily make yourself!
4. Spanish Dishes: Pisto in La Mancha
La Mancha refers to a historical and natural region in the center of the country, situated in the current autonomous community of Castilla La Mancha. The main ingredients of the pisto are tomatoes, onions, eggplants, peppers, and olive oil. It is pretty similar to French ratatouille. The main difference is that people often add a fried egg on top, or cured ham. You usually eat your Pisto warm, as a starter or as a side dish. You can also use pisto as a filling for your empanadillas. Here is a traditional pisto recipe. You can easily prepare vegan version of it by simply not adding the fried egg, as it is optional.
5. Patatas bravas in Madrid
These potatoes have multiple names; patatas bravas, patatas a la brava or papas bravas. However, they all mean the same thing which is “spicy potatoes”. As you might have guessed, these are very simple to prepare. You only need to cut some potatoes into bite-sized pieces and then fry them in oil. The last step is to drizzle some spicy sauce that you will have made from tomatoes, smoked paprika, and herbs. Like the Spanish omelette, the patatas bravas are a tapa, so they are typically served to go with your drinks before dinner. Though originally from Madrid, you will be able to find these potatoes and their traditional sauce anywhere in Spain. And if you don’t have the chance to go there, click here and learn how to cook the dish yourself!
6. Spanish Dishes: Churros anywhere anytime
We don’t know if the Spanish or the Portuguese created this dish. However, it is so widely eaten in Spain that it has become one of the typical sweet foods of the country. You make churros by frying a basic dough made with flour, salt, and water until it becomes crunchy. Then you sprinkle them with sugar or you dip them in melted chocolate. A lot of street vendors sell churros, so you can eat them as a snack during the day. In Spain and a lot of Latin American countries, people also eat churros for breakfast. Once again, you can find different versions of the recipe according to the different regions. Here is a great recipe to make these delicious treats yourself!
7. Turrón en Alicante or Jijona
This treat comes from the South of Europe, more widely from the Mediterranean region. You make this nougat with honey, sugar, and egg white with toasted almonds or other nuts. You will usually find turrón in a rectangular shape. This nougat is a traditional Christmas dessert and you can’t miss it if you go to Spain around Christmas. Turrón is also very well known in Italy and other Mediterranean countries. In addition to that, there are two traditional types of Spanish turrón. Indeed, the hard nougat comes from Alicante and you will also find a softer version from Jijona. Even though it is a Christmas dessert, you can have some turrón no matter the time of the year! Here is a recipe for Jijona turrón.
8. Pulpo a la gallega in Galicia
This traditional dish from the autonomous community of Galicia has a very specific preparation method. You start out by boiling some octopus in a copper cauldron. When the octopus is cooked, you cut it into pieces and sprinkle it with spices such as salt and paprika. According to tradition, you should serve the dish on a wooden plate with bread. With it, you should drink some Galician red wine. You will often find pulpo a la gallega at local fairs as well as in typical Galician restaurants. You will find here a great example of the recipe to recreate at home!
If you want to know more about Spanish gastronomy, click here to read about tapas in Malaga.