Statement Dining | November 13, 2015 | Food
the rich passion of Spanish cuisine
Between Europe and Africa, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea; Spain’s geographical position has brought a rich political history – and a vibrant culinary tradition.
Olives, oils and wine came from Rome, cooked meat and fish from the Celts, honey, almonds, citrus and spices from the Arabs – and then came the bounty from the Spanish expeditions to the New World: tomatoes, chocolate, potatoes, corn and peppers.
Food writers widely agree Spanish cuisine has been one of the world’s most underrated, but the Iberian revolution that has taken place over the past 35 years means all eyes are now on Spain.
Michelin three star restaurants abound; Ferran Adrias’ now-defunct El Bulli was named number one restaurant in the world a record five times, while other feted establishments include Mugaritz in the Basque country and El Celler de Can Roca in Girona.
All take an innovative look at traditional flavours, breaking boundaries and amazing critics and diners alike.
Of course, you can’t pigeonhole a huge country like Spain into a single cuisine. While Catalonia and the Basque country have long established their own heritage, Andalucia is now working hard to counter a reputation for cheap tourist dishes, earned in the 70s and 80s.
The culinary canon is too vast and complex to explore here, but for an evocative taste of just one city, indulge in Luiz Haras description of his pintxo bar crawl in The London Foodie Goes to Spain – San Sebastian.
In fact, if you can’t get to Spain just yet, take a vicarious trip around the country through food bloggers. Here are a few of our favourites:
Spanish Sabores Canarian mojo verde sauce
Spanish Sabores is the brainchild of ex-pat American Lauren Aloise. The Canary Islands are another region guilty of catering for tourists rather than local cuisine, but local dishes such as this mojo sauce (perfect with grilled fish or salted potatoes) are finally having their moment.
Spanish Recipes by Nuria’s lentil stew with cod and potatoes
Because we tend to holiday in Spain’s sunniest spots, we risk missing out on the country’s warming dishes, such as this lentil stew with cod.
Although the Spaniards usually team these rich, dark lentils with chorizo and pork, they are huge fish lovers and this cod version is a lighter alternative.
Barcelona-based Nuria is a Spanish native, but always blogs in English – and her impressive photography needs no translation anyway.
My Kitchen in Spain’s seafood bisque with almonds
Another American in Spain, Janet Mendel takes a more traditional approach to her recipes – her crema de pescado con almendras isn’t a short or simple recipe, but we couldn’t leave it out. It’s the essence of Spain in a bowl.