Fresh tomatoes, seafood, and fish… Spanish cuisine is known all over the world for its diversity. Without a doubt, a trip to Spain is worthwhile just for the delicious culinary delights and the many Mediterranean specialties.
Probably the best-known specialty and the absolute classic of Spanish cuisine is the popular rice paella. Paella is considered the national dish and originates from Valencia. According to the traditional recipe, paella is prepared with rabbit meat and vegetables.
Today, however, there are countless variations: with fish and seafood, with meat and fish or even vegetarian.
But in addition to paella, there are numerous (perhaps lesser-known) Spanish regional specialties that make a warm festive evening an unforgettable event.
All regions of Spain have local specialties that appeal to locals and holidaymakers alike. However, they all have one thing in common: preparation with olive oil! High-quality olive oil is a must in every Spanish cuisine. It refines dishes and provides an incomparable flavor.
Dive into Spanish cuisine with us and discover 5 different Spanish specialties for which fresh olive oil is indispensable.
Tortilla de Patatas all over Spain
You may also know tortilla de patata as tortilla española or tortilla de patatas. Unlike the French tortilla, the Spanish version contains potatoes and onions. The preparation is not complicated and the result, despite its simplicity, is indescribably delicious.
The origin of the potato omelet is not known exactly. According to the legend, it was invented in the 19th century during the Carlist Wars. Food was scarce in times of war. However, a young peasant girl from Navarre wanted to prepare a hearty meal for the soldiers. She mixed potatoes, eggs and onions and fried the ingredients with a regional olive oil.
Today, tortilla de patatas is a national dish along with paella and can be found on almost every Spanish menu.
Try the recipe yourself. Use a high quality virgin olive oil to fry it in the pan and expect a delicious meal.
Gazpacho in Andalusia
What could be better than a cold vegetable soup on a hot summer day? Gazpacho is a delicious refreshment and provides you with lots of vitamins. There is no need to spend hours in the kitchen in the heat because gazpacho can be prepared in the blink of an eye. The basis of the Spanish recipe consists of red tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, bread, garlic, onion, vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil, all finely chopped.
The origin of gazpacho dates to the time of the Roman legions. The soldiers of the empire crumbled stale bread in water or broths as a binder to make it edible again.
But when Columbus brought tomatoes and peppers from America, gazpacho as we know it today was invented. Andalusian gazpacho is probably the best known recipe.
Since the ingredients are mixed on the spot and finally only blended and not cooked, the quality of the ingredients is extremely important. Doing without extra virgin olive oil is not an option. To be clear, it would almost be a gastronomic crime. While it is true that it contains many of the same calories as other vegetable fats, we also know that a good extra virgin olive oil is full of benefits and provides much more than just heart-healthy fats.
Prepare a delicious gazpacho and see for yourself
Croquettes all over Spain
Now you might be a little surprised: Croquettes from Spain?!
Yes, you’re right. The croquettes come from France. But the Spanish have developed French croquettes further and since then Spanish croquettes cannot be missing in any Spanish tapas bar.
Unlike the croquettes we know in Germany, the Spanish croquettes are not filled with potatoes, but with a bechamel sauce with fish, ham, chicken, mushrooms and much more.
The preparation involves a bit of work, but it is well worth it.
To achieve the ideal combination of crispy shell and soft interior, the frying temperature and the use of a good olive oil are crucial.
The wonderful smell of fresh croquettes makes your mouth water. What kind of filling do you want in your croquette? Cod, ham or do you prefer a vegetarian one?
Pa amb tomàquet in Catalonia
Our culinary journey continues in the Spanish metropolis of Barcelona. The culinary differences in Spain depending on the region are impressive. Depending on whether you are on the coast or in the mountains, you will find seafood, fish, or meat dishes. Whatever dish you order in the Catalan capital, you are guaranteed a side dish: Pa amb tomàquet.
That is, a slice of toasted bread, tomato, extra virgin olive oil and salt. If you want, you can also rub the bread with a fresh clove of garlic – so simple and yet so delicious!
Especially with this garnish, you can taste the difference between a high quality and a medium grade olive oil. Enjoy the incomparable taste of fresh Spanish olive oil on toasted bread. But be careful – don’t gorge yourself on pa amb tomàquet just yet! After all, it’s just a side dish.
Bring a piece of Spanish cuisine into your kitchen.
No matter what Spanish dish you want to recreate, you won’t be able to evoke the original flavor without extra virgin olive oil.
Typical Spanish dishes are prepared with high-quality extra virgin olive oil. It gives the dish an incomparable flavor and allows the aromas to really develop.