Monday, September 10, 2012

Comida Espanola - the foodie side of Incantato

While traveling in Spain, there might be some types of food that you have not encountered before. Especially the typical Spanish ‘Tapas’, a wide assortment of appetizers or snacks, offer up a great variety of Spanish dishes and foods. Tapas may be cold or warm and were designed to encourage conversation while eating because people do not have to focus upon an entire meal.

Some of the most typical and essential ingredients for any meal are chorizo (spicy sausage),
jamón iberico (Iberian ham) and jamón serrano (cured ham). Ham is cherished in Spain as as much champagne is in France. The process of curing it takes a couple of years. Chorizo is a type of spicy sausage, either sliced thinly and served cold on bread or cut into chunks and cooked.

Another extremely typical Tapas dish and Spain’s very own fast food are patatas bravas. They are chopped, fried potatoes (basically potato wedges) that are covered either in a very spicy tomato sauce or a mayonnaise olive oil garlic sauce.

Speaking of fast food, another one of Spain’s favorites is the tortilla española. The plain ones are simply made with just eggs, potatoes and onions, cooked together in an omelet-type combination, then cut into pie slices and served. Variations include shrimp cooked inside or cheese melted on top.

The last dish often comes as a bit of a shock to people. It looks likes tomato soup, but careful - it is cold! This typical appetizer is a mixture of pureed tomatoes, cucumbers and a few other ingredients, topped with croutons. If you are traveling in
southern Spain, however, be sure to watch out for salmorejo on restaurant menus. This is the regional variation of Gazpacho and a bit more flavorful. A combination of tomatoes, bread, oil, garlic and vinegar, salmorejo is much thicker than Gazpacho because it includes more bread. It is also typically served with diced jamón serrano and diced hard-boiled eggs on top.

Crista’s personal favorites include the tortilla española and the salmorejo. Check out the recipe linked to the tortilla española to try this dish at home. Yum!

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