10 Most Popular Spanish Dishes
Spanish cuisine is definitely being showcased by its up-and-coming chefs. Further, its importance on the world food stage is gathering momentum as it is being recognized as one of the top cuisines in the world. Spanish cuisine is very regional as the geography and the climate varies in different parts of this large country, and this impacts the available ingredients and even the cooking methods. To the Spanish, a meal is a social event, and many of the dishes have evolved over many years and been handed down through the generations. The top-selling Spanish cookbook, 1080, by Simone and Inés Ortega, mother and daughter, is perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to cook Spanish dishes. It is packed with useful tips about alternative ingredients and methods that can be used. here is a list of most popular Spanish dishes
Popular Spanish Dishes: Tapas
Today, it is not uncommon for one to enjoy a main meal comprising of many small tapas (taster) dishes. But long ago, tapas dishes were served as appetizers. There are several theories about the origin of tapas. It is said that innkeepers began serving tapas dishes to travelers who were illiterate and could not read the menu! Another theory is that tapas (which means “to cover”) evolved when sherry makers would serve their sherry covered with a slice of salty ham on bread to make their customers thirsty, and thus order more sherry! Today, tapas can be enjoyed not only in bars across Spain, but worldwide in many top restaurants. Tapas still consist of a small portion to be shared, and the dishes can be cold (such as olives, ham, and cheese), or cooked (including squid, cuttlefish, and fried chorizo). You can choose multiple varieties, order however many you would like, and enjoy them over an evening of socializing.
Popular Spanish Dishes: Tortilla Espanôla - Spanish Omelette
This wonderful omelette is a main dish in itself, and because of its thickness, is really like a cross between an omelette and a quiche! The main ingredients for a Spanish Omelette are potatoes, onions, and eggs, but many other ingredients – including chorizo (smoked sausage), spinach, and courgettes (zucchini) – are often added.
Popular Spanish Dishes : Gazpacho
On a hot summer’s day, nothing beats a glass of this tasty and refreshing chilled soup, and a jug of gazpacho is a common sight in tapas bars. Gazpacho is originally from the Andalusia region of Spain, and is made from a blend of raw tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, green peppers, cucumbers, and bread. It is thought that the recipe was brought to Spain by the Romans who made a simpler version using bread, olive oil, water, and garlic. In the 19th century, tomatoes were added to the mixture and the Gazpacho gained its red color. Before the days of food processors, the vegetables would be ground by hand using a mortar and pestle. There are many variations of the traditional recipe using other ingredients such as avocado, watermelon, and grapes.
Popular Spanish Dishes : Paella
Paella has its roots in the Albufera lagoon area of Valencia where the Moors began rice cultivation in the 10th century. Housewives there have made it for centuries, using the bomba rice that is one of two varieties grown in the region. The dish gets its name from the paelle – the large, flat-bottomed, two-handled cooking pan that the dish is cooked in. Originally, paella was made using chicken and duck with white beans and snails. Today, a variety of different paellas are made, such as vegetarian, and the most popular – seafood – made with chicken, prawns, mussels, squid and peas with golden rice colored with saffron. In Barcelona, the rice is often colored grey with squid ink. Many consider paella to be the Spanish national dish – except the Spanish, who think of it as a regional specialty!
Popular Spanish Dishes : Pulpo a la Gallega – Boiled Octopus
This popular dish is made by poaching octopus in boiling water with paprika and rock salt. The dish originates in the Galician region of northwest Spain where octopus is so popular that there are even specialist octopus restaurants – polbeiras. The boiled octopus is served on a wooden platter, topped with a generous drizzle of olive oil and accompanied by potatoes. This dish can be seen being cooked in large copper pots at many fiestas in the area.
Popular Spanish Dishes : Fabada – Bean Casserole
Fabada is a bean dish that is often eaten on cold winter evenings. Large white beans are cooked slowly with shoulder of pork, chorizo, and black sausage with some saffron. In Madrid, the beans are replaced by chick peas, and the dish is known as garbanzos. Fabada is served with crusty bread and usually eaten at lunchtime. Tinned fabada is available in many supermarkets.
Croquetas – Croquettes
Found in bars and restaurants all over Spain, croquettes Spanish style are not just deep fried potatoes, but are made with a variety of ingredients. They are a popular tapas dish, and many chefs closely guard their secret recipes that have been handed down through the generations. Croquetas can be made from ham, cheese, and mushrooms. There are also versions made from fish in a bechamel sauce which is covered in breadcrumbs before frying and served with delicious queso de cabrales made from Spanish blue-veined cheese.
Popular Spanish Dishes : Pisto
This colorful vegetable dish is very similar to the French Ratatouille, except that Spanish chefs are insistent that grilling the vegetables first ensures a good depth of flavor. Tomatoes, red and green peppers, zucchini (courgette), garlic, and red chilies are used, and this dish is a popular side to meat and fish. In the Rioja area (famous for its wine), pisto is served as a main dish with a fried egg on top, or, it can be served cold as a salad with a variety of Spanish hams – and a glass of Rioja of course!
Popular Spanish Dishes : Churros
These delicious fried pieces of dough originated in Madrid and are popular all over Spain. especially during fiestas when there are numerous churros stalls – churrenias. Churros are made from flour, water, and olive oil. The dough is pushed through a machine that turns it into a fluted “rope” that is joined in a circle before deep frying until it is light and crispy. Churros are enjoyed with warm melted chocolate or sugar, but in Mexico, they are always served with cinnamon flavored sugar.
Popular Spanish Dishes : Crema Catalana
This delicious dish is one of the classic Spanish desserts. It is a custard made with milk and infused with the flavors of lemon and cinnamon and served in individual dishes with a hard caramel topping. It is not unlike the French dessert Crème Brulée, but because milk is used instead of cream, Crema Catelana is much easier to make.