12 Spanish dishes you must try when in Spain
Spanish food, rich in spices but not spicy, usually incorporates fresh, local produce or seafood. The dishes are simple and hearty, making them a comforting kind of food – perfect to munch on at any time. What are some typical Spanish dishes? Read on to find out.
Pulpo a la gallega
This dish comes from the North West coast in Spain, where seafood is plentiful. This tapa style dish features tender octopus cut into one-bite rounds, topped with olive oil and smoked paprika.
Andalusian gazpacho is a cold soup with blended, raw vegetables. Usually eaten in the summer when various veggies are abundant, this soup is refreshing and savoury. There are a number of different versions, depending on the region in Spain and which vegetables are added. For example, there is salmorejo, which consists of tomato, bread, oil and garlic, or ajoblanco which is made from bread and crushed almonds. All are worth a try!
Originating in Valencia, paella is a rice dish made – in our opinion – most deliciously with seafood- mussels, clams, prawns, squid etc. With a world-renowned reputation, this savoury dish makes the perfect meal for a Sunday lunch. Add some pan and vino tinto and you’re on your way to becoming a true Spaniard. If you’re looking for something different, you can try fideuà, a version with small noodles instead of rice and traditionally eaten with alioli.
What makes a Spanish omelette different than a French omelette? Potatoes and onions! Slowly fried in olive oil with the eggs mixed in later, the tortilla española (or tortilla de patatas) is a staple of Spanish home-cooking and an object of pride to its creators. Seemingly simple, the tortilla de patatas is a delightful and fluffy culinary experience and should be tasted!
With so much coast surrounding Spain, it’s no wonder there is such an abundance of fish and seafood. Boquerones are anchovies and this tapa dish is served with the fresh fish as its centrepiece, served with olive oil and vinegar. In Andalusia, anchovies are often served in bars deep-fried.
Pan con tomate
Pan con tomate (or Pa amb tomàquet in Catalan) is a staple of Spanish food. It can be eaten from breakfast to dinner to accompany a meal, or as a snack. The traditional pan con tomate is prepared by toasting (or not) a piece of bread with tomato rubbed over it and seasoned with salt and olive oil. In some cases, a clove of garlic can also be rubbed on the bread before the tomato.
The jamón ibérico could almost be considered a symbol of Spain. You cannot visit without seeing a leg of ham in any bar or restaurant, or hanging from the ceiling in some shops. This delicacy is something that Spaniards have grown up on. It’s not unusual or to find one in someone’s home for people in Spain to gift a leg of ham on a special occasion. The cuts are taken directly from the cured leg and they are absolutely a must to try when in Spain. There’s no wonder the film Spanish Jamon Jamon is almost like a symbol of Spain itself.
Pimientos de padrón
This Spanish tapa dish hails from the municipality of Padron, in Galicia where these small, usually green, peppers come from. They are typically served fried in oil and sprinkled with chunks of salt. Yum!
If you’ve spent a while in Spain, you’ll know that this typical tapa dish is served differently wherever you go. Each restaurant and bar has their own take, but the quintessential bravas are fried potatoes with sauce – usually tomato and alioli, or a mix of the two. Definitely a step up from regular fries!
Horchata is a classic drink that is typically consumed in the summer. Horchata can refer to many different types of beverages, but the Spanish horchata, originally from Valencia, is made with tiger nuts. It’s also sometimes used as an alternative to milk for those who are lactose-intolerant.
Catalonia’s version of creme brulee has been around since the 14th century. A creamy custard base with a crunchy burnt caramel topping, crema catalana is the perfect finale to any Spanish meal.
Churros con chocolate
Churros are another typical dessert food in Spain. Usually eaten for breakfast with coffee or chocolate, these crispy delights also make a nice conclusion to a Spanish meal or as an afternoon snack.
Have you tried any of these Spanish foods? Which are you favourites?