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Spain's Top 13 Most Delicious Dishes

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August 14, 2017 / Spanish / By
ETG - Food For Thought

Spanish cuisine means simple recipes, local ingredients, fresh and flavorful food and the same cooking methods that were used in Spain hundreds of years ago. However, cooking style and traditional dishes differ from region to region.

Olive and garlic are key ingredients and can be found in numerous Spanish dishes. Besides these two ingredients, Spanish people love to use ham, seafood, cheese, sausages, eggs, meats (chicken, lamb, beef, and pork), a variety of vegetables including zucchini, sweet pepper and eggplant, legumes, usually beans and chickpeas, and nuts, particularly walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds.

If you plan to visit Spain soon, we’ve made a list of Spain’s top 13 most delicious dishes you can try during your vacation, but if your vacation time is over and you don’t have any vacation plans soon, you can try the recipes we included here in the section: recipe to try at home.

Fabada Asturiana

Fabada Asturiana is probably one of Spain’s most popular dishes. The hearty beans and sausages stew is the epitome of comfort food and it is a great dish for cold winter days.  

Fabada Asturiana originated in the northwestern region of Spain and it is traditionally made with local large white beans, smoked paprika, saffron, Spanish blood sausage also known as morcillo and chorizo.

Recipe to try at home: Fabada Asturiana Bean Stew Recipe from Simple Tasty Good

Chocolate Churros

From one comfort food to another, but this time a sweet variety, we move to chocolate churros. Churros are spiral-shaped or straight fried pastries dusted with sugar and/or cinnamon or dipped in chocolate.

In Spain, churros are served for breakfast but other countries of the world enjoy them as dessert. If you visit Spain, you have to order chocolate churros along a hot cup of coffee for breakfast even though you are not a fan of sweet breakfast dishes.

Recipe To Try At Home: Easy Homemade Churros with Chocolate Sauce from Just A Taste

Gambas al Ajillo

Gambas al Ajillo, garlic shrimps, are usually served as tapa in Spain in bars, restaurants and even as street food. This delicious dish is especially loved in the south of Spain where seafood is very popular. The main ingredients of Gambas al Ajillo are shrimp, olive oil, and garlic, but traditionally the classic recipe also includes sweet paprika, parsley, lemon juice and sherry. We included a chili garlic shrimp recipe here, but if you are not o fan of hot spicy dishes, you can substitute chili for sweet paprika.

Recipe To Try At Home: Chili Garlic Shrimp from Rasa Malaysia

Paella

Nowadays, Paella is popular all over the world and there numerous variations of the Spanish dish. It’s hard to determine which type of paella is authentic, but, in our opinion, most of the recipes are delicious.

Paella originated in Valencia and it was initially the lunchtime dish of the local farmers and workers. The main ingredient of paella was and still is rice. The rest of the ingredients were countryside ingredients, such as onions, tomatoes, beans, snails and, sometimes, chicken, duck or rabbit. Since Valencia is situated near the sea, seafood was added to the dish. Most people believe that the original paella recipe included seafood, however, that is not the case. Even today, an authentic Paella Valenciana contains a mix of snails, rabbit, and chicken.

Recipe to try at home: Spanish Seafood Paella (Healthy) from Ciao Florentina

Spanish Croquettes

Croquettes are not a Spanish dish per se but there is a current obsession in Spain with these fried goods and it’s easy to understand why – they are easy to make, they are versatile and they can be enjoyed throughout the day basically everywhere in the Spanish cities.

Croquettes are popular in other countries of the world as well but we really love all the Spanish varieties that include simple varieties such as Ham Croquettes, Mushroom Croquettes, Shrimp Croquettes, Cod Croquettes and Pulled Chicken Croquettes but also more exotic varieties such as Spinach and Pine Nut Croquettes, Beef Cheek Croquettes, Blood Sausage Croquettes and Garbanzo Bean Croquettes. Madrid is the best place for trying all kinds of croquettes but you can easily make croquettes at home if a trip to Madrid is out of the question, we are pretty sure you already have the ingredients in your kitchen.

Recipe to try at home: Croquetas de Jamón Serrano from Spanish Sabores

Rabo de Toro

Rabo de Toro is a traditional Andalusian stew that contains oxtail. Originally, Rabo de Toro was made with the tails of the bulls killed during the corrida but, today, cow’s tail and a mix of sophisticated ingredients will do the trick. That plus a slow-cookie process that is mandatory if you want to obtain the best oxtail stew flavors. Most recipes include oxtail, onions, garlic, tomatoes, carrots and a mix of spices.

Recipe to try at home: Insanely Good Oxtail Stew from Jamie Oliver

Gazpacho

Another amazing Andalusian dish is Gazpacho, a dish that is loved worldwide for its flavors, colors, freshness, and taste. You probably tried Gazpacho already but Gazpacho Andaluz, the dish served in the south of Spain is the best Gazpacho in the world. Usually served during summer months, Gazpacho Andaluz is a refreshing soup made with tomatoes as the main ingredient and cucumbers, olive oil, onion, garlic, wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Gazpacho can be served with bread croutons, chopped veggies, and even ham.

Alfarnatejo, a small town near Malaga hosts a Gazpacho Festival where locals and tourists come together to indulge in the delicious refreshing soup and while watching flamenco shows.

Recipes to try at home: Classic Gazpacho from Foodie Crush

Empanada Gallega

Empanadas can be found in numerous countries around the world including Latin America countries, European countries and Southeast Asian countries but empanada originated in Galicia, Spain.

Galicia is the heaven of empanadas since the varieties here are endless. Empanadas’ filling can include everything from minced pork and chorizo to seafood including sardines and tuna and all kinds of veggies, the most popular ones being peppers. However, the highlight of the empanadas are not the meats or seafood but the savory onion sauce that is sweet, flavorful and that gives depth to otherwise a very common treat. The slow cooked onion sauce can include tomatoes but they are not mandatory.

Recipe to try at home: Empanada Gallega (Tuna & Tomato Galician Pie) from Hola Foodie

Crema Catalana

The most popular dessert of Catalonia, crema catalana is similar (but not identical) to France’s crème brûlée. The recipe is simple and requires common ingredients but the taste of the dessert is so distinctive and loved both in Spain and internationally that crema catalana is now incorporated in various desserts and the flavor was added to various liquors that are sold in Spain.

The main difference between crema catalana and crème brûlée is that crema catalana is made from milk and thickened with egg and corn starch while the French dessert is made with thick cream. The texture is also different, crema catalana is rich and creamy while France’s dessert has more of a flan texture.

Recipe to try at home: Crema Catalana / Spanish Burnt Cream Custard from Laylita

Pulpo a la Gallega

Since we already mentioned some dishes from Galicia, we also have to mention the region’s signature dish – Pulpo a la Gallega or Galician Octopus for our foodies who are not familiar with the Spanish language.

Seafood lovers – Galicia is a must for you! There are so many incredible seafood dishes you can try there… but, back to our Galician octopus before getting carried away. The simple but amazing seafood dish is served in restaurants, at tapas bars and in traditional pulperia (octopus restaurants, yes they are a thing in Galicia!)

Galician octopus is made with olive oil and lots of paprika. Talk about a simple but amazing dish!

Recipe to try at home: Pulpo a la Gallega (Galician Style Octopus) from The Things We’ll Make

Tortilla Española

Tortilla Española or Tortilla de Patatas is Spain’s omelet and a dish that can be found in any place of Spain. Tortilla de Patatas has been around for a while, and by that, we mean since the 16th century.

The Spanish omelet is similar to Italy’s frittata in terms of texture and it contains onions and sliced potatoes fried in olive oil mixed with beaten egg and cooked until the egg is solid. This is the classic tortilla Espanola however, there are different varieties including tortillas with tomato sauce or mayonnaise not to mention other ingredients that are added to the egg mixture. You can add pretty much everything you like including all kinds of meat, sausages, ham and all kinds of veggies.

The dish can be served as tapa but also as a main dinner dish.

 

Recipe to try at home: Spanish Omelet (Tortilla Española) from Happy Foods Tube

Mallorcan Tumbet

Mallorcan tumbet is similar to the French ratatouille, basically a simple vegetable dish that tastes delicious if prepared properly. Firstly, the veggies are lightly fried in a little bit of olive oil then everything is moved to the oven and baked until perfection. As you can see very simple steps, however, not all vegetable dishes are delicious. The secret is that you should always use high-quality, fresh vegetables. That is basically the secret for all Mediterranean dishes and that’s what Spanish people never ignore. They always use seasonal ingredients and also high-quality olive oil.

Recipe to try at home: Mallorcan Tumbet, A Vegetable Tapa from The Winter Guest

Albondigas

Albonddigas are basically Spanish meatballs and they are enjoyed in other countries from Latin America as well. The most common albondigas are made of beef but pork, poultry, and veal are also used for making these delicious meatballs. Albondigas can be enjoyed as part of tapa but, in Spain, they are also loved with tomato sauce as a main dish.

Recipe to try at home: Smoky Albondigas from Olive Magazine


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$$$ = fine dining,etc

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