Never Ending Siesta: 10 Popular Spanish Dishes You Have to Try

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Spanish cuisine is one of the brightest and most versatile in the world. It is not surprising, because it has absorbed the culinary traditions of 17 different regions, each of which is unique in its own way. The main foods on the national menu are beans, vegetables, rice, some meat and seafood, olive oil and, of course, ham and wine. These ingredients are used to prepare the most popular Spanish dishes.

Tomatoes on an ice floe

The Spanish have a particular passion for cold soups. Salmorejo is one of them. It is prepared from fresh meaty tomatoes and a small amount of stale homemade bread, and is served not just chilled, but with pieces of ice.

Ingredients:

bread – 200 g

water – 250 ml

tomatoes – 1 kg

jamon (cured ham) – 30 g

egg – 2 pcs.

olive oil – 50 ml

garlic – 1-2 cloves

salt, black pepper – to taste

Cut the bread into slices, cut off the crusts, chop the crumb into cubes, fill with chilled water. Remove the skin from the tomatoes, remove the seeds, puree and mix with soaked bread. Add crushed garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Beat everything into a thick mass and put in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Cook hard-boiled eggs in advance. Pour salmorejo into plates, decorate with chopped boiled egg and jamon. On a particularly hot day, add some crushed ice to the soup.

Improvisation in the pot

The Spaniards are also not indifferent to hot soups. For example, in Andalusian cuisine, the hallmark is puchero – a cross between soup and stew.

Ingredients:

veal – 500 g

water – 2 liters

potatoes – 3 pcs.

carrots – 1 pc.

chickpeas – 150 g

young corn – 1 ear

bell pepper – 1 pc.

salt, black pepper, bay leaf – to taste

fresh herbs for serving

Fill the meat with cold water and cook for an hour with the addition of salt and spices. We also boil chickpeas and corn in advance. Strain the meat broth, and disassemble the veal into fibers. Chop corn, carrots, potatoes and peppers coarsely. Bring the broth to a boil, lay the meat with all vegetables and legumes, cook for 10 minutes, insist under the lid. We lay out the veal with vegetables on the plates, pour in a little broth and decorate each portion with chopped herbs.

Little temptations

Still, among the popular Spanish recipes, the first number is tapas – a snack for one bite. How many varieties of it exist, even the Spaniards themselves will not say. As such, you can be served olives, green peppers, cheese platter, fried potatoes with aioli sauce, canapés or mini sandwiches. Tapas are usually served on a large platter to accompany sherry, sparkling kava wine or beer. Here are a couple of traditional variations.

Ingredients:

chorizo ​​sausages – 30 g

sheep cheese – 30 g

large olives – 2 pcs.

cherry tomatoes – 2 pcs.

jamon – 30 g

bread toast

Cut the chorizo ​​sausage into thick washers and cut the sheep’s cheese into cubes. We put cheese, olives and sausage on a skewer. Or such a laconic version. Sprinkle a slice of bread with olive oil, put the thinnest slice of ham and fix the cherry tomato on top with a skewer.

Dream fish

Experienced gourmets assure that the most delicious fish dishes are prepared in the Basque Country. The first thing they recommend is to try the pil-pil cod. Its highlight is the olive oil-based sauce prepared in a special way.

Ingredients:

cod fillet with skin – 800 g

green hot pepper – 1 pc.

garlic – 3-4 cloves

olive oil – 200 ml

salt to taste

We cut the garlic into thin slices, and the pepper into rings. Heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan and fry the garlic and pepper until tender. Pour everything into a separate container. In the same frying pan, heat a little more oil, brown the portioned pieces of fish, put on a plate. Pour the oil, garlic and pepper back into the pan, stirring in a circular motion. It will begin to thicken and take on a greenish tint. The sauce will be ready when it approaches mayonnaise in consistency. Then we spread the cod and simmer until tender. Serve the pil-pil, pouring over the garlic sauce.

Vegetable platter

What the Spaniards do not cook from vegetables! One of my favorite variations is Pisto Mancheto stew. According to legend, it was invented in the homeland of Don Quixote, in the La Mancha region. It is prepared from any seasonal vegetables and served with a fried egg.

Ingredients:

zucchini – 1 pc.

eggplant – 1 pc.

bell pepper – 3 pcs. different colors

tomatoes – 5 pcs.

onions – 2 pcs.

garlic – 2-3 cloves

olive oil – 5-6 tbsp.

egg – 2 pcs.

tomato paste – 1 tbsp.

sugar – 0.5 tsp.

salt, black and red pepper – to taste

jamon for serving

Zucchini, eggplant, onion and peppers are cut into small cubes. Sprinkle the eggplants with salt, leave for 10 minutes, then squeeze lightly with your hands. Pass the garlic through a press. Scald the tomatoes with boiling water and remove the skin.

Heat a frying pan with olive oil, sauté the onion and garlic until transparent. Pour in pepper, fry until softened. Next, add the zucchini and eggplant, continue to fry, stirring occasionally with a spatula. At the end we put tomatoes and tomato paste. Season everything with salt, sugar and spices. Pour in a little water, reduce the flame to a minimum and simmer the stew under the lid for 15–20 minutes. During this time, we will fry the eggs. We complement each serving of vegetable stew with fried eggs and slices of ham.

All sea food

Paella is the epitome of all Spanish cuisine. However, it will hardly be possible to find a classic recipe. In different regions of the country, meat and seafood, poultry and rabbit, duck and snails can easily be found in one plate with rice. We offer a recipe originally from Valencia – paella with seafood.

Ingredients:

long grain rice – 250 g

fish broth – 1 liter

shrimp – 8-10 pcs.

squid tentacles – 100 g

mussels in shells – 3-4 pcs.

tomatoes – 3 pcs.

olive oil – 3 tbsp.

chili pepper – 0.5 pod

garlic – 4 cloves

salt, black and red pepper – to taste

parsley – 2-3 sprigs

Boil the tentacles of squid and mussels in advance. Remember, the flaps of the mussels should open. We crush the garlic with the flat side of the knife, throw it into a preheated pan with oil, let it stand for a couple of minutes so that it gives off the aroma, and immediately remove it. Here, lightly brown the peeled shrimp and put on a plate. Remove the skin from the tomatoes, rub through a sieve, pour into the pan where the shrimps were. Simmer tomato puree over low heat for 3-4 minutes with chili peppers. Pour in a glass of broth, bring to a boil and pour in the rice. Add the remaining broth as it boils. It will take about 20 minutes to cook the rice. A couple of minutes before the end, season it with salt and spices, and also lay all the seafood. Let the paella brew under the lid and sprinkle with fresh herbs.

Curvy dessert

The Spaniards will argue with any European nation for the title of the main sweet tooth in their part of the continent. One of the desserts that can bring them victory is quaresma, which strongly resembles our donuts.

Ingredients:

milk – 250 ml

butter – 70 g

flour – 200 g

eggs – 5 pcs.

lemon – 1 pc.

raisins – 50 g

anise liqueur (cognac) – 50 ml

vegetable oil – 500 ml

a pinch of salt

powdered sugar for serving

Soak the raisins in liqueur for half an hour. We heat the milk in a saucepan, melt the butter and add a little flour. Stir the mixture constantly with a wooden spatula so that there are no lumps. We introduce all the eggs one at a time, continuing to stir. Then put salt, dried raisins and zest of half a lemon, knead the dough. Heat the pot with butter well and use a spoon to dip small portions of dough into boiling oil. They will take on the shape of balls and brown quickly. We fry the balls in small batches and put them on paper napkins. Sprinkle the hot quaresma with icing sugar before serving.

Sweet tenderness

Residents of sunny Mallorca start their morning with lush ensaimadas. They are baked from airy layered dough, and various fillings are put inside. Most often it is pumpkin confiture, melted chocolate, Catalan cream or apricot jam.

Ingredients:

flour – 250 g + 2 tbsp. for dough

milk – 100 ml

dry yeast – 7 g

sugar – 3 tbsp.

egg – 1 pc.

olive oil – 3 tbsp.

salt – 0.5 tsp.

apricot jam – 200 g

lard or ghee – 50 g

powdered sugar for serving

Warm the milk a little, dilute sugar, flour and yeast. Add the remaining flour, salt, egg and olive oil. Knead a soft, slightly sticky dough, cover with a towel and put in a warm place for half an hour. Pour some flour on the table, lay out the dough, knead and divide into 4 balls. Let them stay warm for 20 minutes.

Roll out each lump as thin as possible and grease with lard. Put the jam on the edge with a wide strip, roll the dough into a tube, wrap it with a dense snail. We also grease the buns with lard on top and send them to the oven at 190 ° C for 20 minutes. While the ensaimadas are hot, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Golden milk

Spanish drinks are another story. Take horchata, for example. It is made from ground chuf almonds with the addition of water and sugar. According to legend, the name of the drink was invented by King Jaime when he passed one of the villages of Valencia. To the distinguished guest’s question what was served to him, he received an answer – chufa milk. To which the king exclaimed: “This is not milk, this is gold!” For an adapted recipe, you can take any nuts.

Ingredients:

nuts – 300 g

water – 1 liter

sugar – 150 ml

cinnamon and lemon zest to taste

Fill the nuts with water, insist all night. Then we drain the water, and grind the nuts with a blender until they turn into a thick homogeneous mass. We filter it through several layers of gauze. Add sugar to the resulting milk and stir well. Before serving, add a little lemon zest to each glass, and sprinkle the horchata with cinnamon.

Wine pleasure

Perhaps the most popular Spanish drink is sangria. It is prepared from two basic ingredients: chilled wine and fruit. The wine can be red, white or sparkling. Fruit – which one you like best. Some people prefer to splash in some rum, liqueur or brandy. There is no need to observe any strict proportions, everything is at your discretion. We suggest trying sangria in three variations at once.

Ingredients:

white wine – 500 ml

red wine – 500 ml

rose wine – 500 ml

water – 500 ml

sugar – to taste

oranges – 2 pcs.

lemon – 1 pc.

grapefruit – 0.5 pcs.

strawberries – 100 g

apple – 1 pc.

pear – 1 pc.

mint for serving

All fruits and berries are thoroughly washed and wiped dry. We cut them randomly together with the peel into small pieces. We put the fruit platter in three jugs, sprinkle with sugar, pour in a little water. Pour white wine into the first jug, red wine into the second, and pink wine into the third. We put everything in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Pour sangria with fruit pieces into glasses and garnish with mint.

This is what Spanish cuisine is like. Of course, this is only a fraction of her vast culinary heritage. You will find more interesting recipes in the thematic section of the site “Eating at Home”. How do you feel about Spanish cuisine? Do you have a favorite food? We will be glad if you tell us in the comments what you have tried and share your impressions.

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