Spanish Cuisine

Topics: Spanish cuisine, Tapas, Tortilla de patatas Pages: 5 (1172 words) Published: October 8, 2014
Spanish Cuisine
Introduction
Spain is located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe and is the third largest country in Europe. It boarders the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, it also has various mountainous regions. Spanish cooking differs from region to region and their traditional recipes have been handed down through generations, the cooking has been deceptively simple with huge variety due to their use of home grown ingredients. (Ham, 2014).For this assignment I will explore Spanish Cuisine. In order for me to investigate and evaluate Spanish cuisine my plan is to cook a popular two course Spanish meal. The dishes chosen are – Spanish Tortilla and Chorizo and tomato salad.

Key features
Spain is divided by regions Galicia, the Basque country, Valencia, Andalucía and Cataluña each region brings to the table their own distinctive culinary tradition and immense variety of Spanish food recipes. In Spain the Olive is used as a prime ingredient renowned for its individual taste. Garlic, sweet and hot peppers, meat poultry, game and fish are important ingredients in most Spanish dishes. Paella a national dish of Spain mainly consists of rice, saffron and different variations of fish and meats making it a Spanish favourite. Tapas are a wide variety of appetisers and snacks and can encompass simple dishes of cheese and olives to elaborate dishes of hot potatoes-meat- fish- savoury pastries all served with various dips to accompany and add flavour.

Historical Influences
Spanish cuisine is influenced by the Greek, Roman, Phoenician and Moorish settlements. Each region of Spain had added its own variations to what these cultures have brought. In the 19th Century due to transport difficulties with importing and exporting goods the mountainous and coastal regions dictated their own variation on ingredients used in recipes. Due to vast cultures that influenced Spanish cooking this has given the cuisine its distinctive elements of authenticity. (Enforex, 1989-2014)

Key Ingredients
Spain is the largest producer of olive oil in the World. The two key ingredients in all Spanish dishes are olive oil and garlic.

Ham-also known as Jamon is very popular with the Spaniards and each region takes great pride in their variety of ham. Two main types are Jamon Serrano and Jamon Iberico used by cutting thinly or diced are used in a variety of dishes.

Fish/ Seafood- Due to its coastal position there is an abundance of fresh fish cooked and eaten daily.

Cheese – Different regions produce their own cheeses. Made from goat, cow and sheep milk or mixed, the milk may be raw, pasteurised or creamy. Some regions are better known for their cheeses such as Manchego cheese of La Mancha or mato from Catalonia.

Sausages – Chorizo sausage is a pork sausage made from paprika. There are various types of chorizo from fresh which would need to be cooked before eaten or chorizo sausage can be fermented, cured or smoked which if often sliced without cooking.

Beef, Lamb and Pork- All three are usually grilled over hot coals or over a metal plate, roasted or sautéed. Suckling pigs are also popular and traditionally split and roasted whole in large oak-fired ovens.

Eggs- Are usually fried, in a Spanish omelette and also boiled as a part of a salad.

Legumes- Beans, lentils and peas are very popular in Spanish dishes and are often preferred to potatoes to add bulk to dishes. Chickpeas are most commonly used and are the basic staple ingredient of Spanish cuisine.

Bread- Bread is part of the stable diet in Spain, it is served with nearly every meal and plays a part in all aspects of Spanish cuisine. It comes in all shapes and sizes and the recipes vary from region to region.

Fruits and Vegetables- Common vegetables include tomatoes, onions, garlic, olives,asparagus, aubergine, spinach, cabbage, cucumbers, lettuce and mushrooms. Fruit-both fresh and dried is enjoyed as a snack or as a dessert. Common fruit...

Bibliography: Capalbo, C., 1997. Mediterranean Cooking. Cambridge: Le Creuset UK Limited .
Enforex, 1989-2014. History of Spanish food. [Online]
Available at: http://www.enforex.com/culture/history-spanish-food.html
[Accessed 07 October 2014].
Ham, A., 2014. Spain- Lonely Planet. [Online]
Available at: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/spain
[Accessed 07 October 2014].
Sierra, L. a. T., 2014. About Food. [Online]
Available at: http://spanishfood.about.com/od/cookingtipsandbasics/a/cookmethodsmeat.htm
[Accessed 07 October 2014].
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