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Posted by on Jun 27, 2016 | 30 comments

Five Spanish Foods You Have to Try

Spanish Food.  What not to love about it?

As most of you know, I have been obsessed with the country’s cuisine since my visit last fall.  I have visited the Basque restaurant in town, stopped by another restaurant for tapas happy hour and searched specialized markets for ingredients.

I can’t help it.  My childhood was filled with a wide variety of Spanish flavors and aromas.  They are an integral part of what we eat in Puerto Rico.  Rediscovering those flavors as an adult triggered a torrential flow of emotions and memories.

Since Spanish food is deeply rooted in my heart, I feel an immense satisfaction when I share its goodness with others.  In here, I am highlighting five foods any gastronomic convert should try.

Jamon

I would not be fair if I do not give jamon (ham) the top spot on my list. I am not exaggerating when I say this is the first and last thing my husband and I ate in Spain.

These popular hams are uncooked, dry-cured and divided into two primary types: jamon Serrano and jamon Iberico (the most expensive ones).  The long curing process gives the final product a smooth and silky texture.

You can find a wide array of jamon products in most (if not all) Spanish cities.  Stop by markets, order it at tapas bars and restaurants or visit specialized purveyors.

Spanish Foods to Try, Jamon

Spanish Foods to Try, Tortilla

Where to find it outside Spain: the good news is that you do not have to struggle to get jamon in the United States.  Love Iberico is an online platform selling top-quality Iberian products throughout the country, made up of a group of Iberian product lovers who wish to share their passion with their customers by offering them products at some of the best prices in the market.

What enthusiasts me about this site is that you are able to sign in for a monthly Iberico Box (combination of jamon, chorizo and salchichon) subscription.  We have heard about beauty, pet or stationary subscription boxes. But, jamon boxes?  That is genius (and mouthwatering!)

Bacalao

I grew up eating way too many delicious bacalao (codfish or saltfish) dishes.  In Spain, this fish is used in many versatile ways: stewed, grilled, in soups, in salads, al pil pil or in croquetas.  In Madrid, my favorite way to eat bacalao was over a piece of bread drizzled with honey (oh, so good).

Spanish Foods to Try, Bacalao

Where to find it outside Spain: it is not difficult to find codfish in supermarkets.  However, for fresh, high-quality fish, visit a seafood provider or fishmonger.  The salted variation can be found in specialized stores.

Tortilla

After living may years in California, I still use the word tortilla to refer to an omelette (like we do in Puerto Rico).  That cause confusion since when you use the word tortilla in here, people think you are referring to a corn tortilla.

Well, to me, a tortilla consists of eggs, potatoes and onions. My siblings and I had this for dinner many times.  Nothing used to be left in the pan!

Spanish Foods to Try, Tortilla

Where to find it outside Spain: we are very lucky in this case.  Anybody can prepare a tortilla at home.  Now, the trick is to master the technique.  This article describes the process step by step.

Paella

A lot of people are familiar with this Valencian dish.  And, there is a reason for that! The original version uses chicken, rabbit, snails, white beans and saffron.  In addition, there are seafood, vegetarian and mixed meat versions.  This is a must when in Spain.

Spanish Foods to Try, Paella

Where to find it outside Spain:  Spanish restaurants outside Spain tend to prepare paellas on the weekends or for special events.  Several areas have Paella Festivals where the public can try different versions (this is popular in wine areas).  Simple, but flavorful, versions can be cooked at home.  My mom used to prepare the dish using a kit from the Vigo brand.

Turron

I can bite if you try to take my turron from me.  I am not going to go into details but I brought a massive quantity of boxes from Spain last fall.

Turron, or nougat, is a mix of honey, sugar, egg whites and almonds.  There are two basic types: a soft, smooth version and hard version, which contains pieces of almond (the one I prefer).  There are almond caramel, chocolate, fruit and orange versions.

Spanish Foods to Try, Turron

Where to find it outside Spain: I have found turron is Hispanic markets.  Lately, I have seen them in stores such as WorldMarket and Marshalls (they have packaged food section).  I grew up on the El Almendro brand (other brands: 1880, El Artesano, El Lobo, Sanchis Mira).

Which of these foods would you like to try?

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Five Spanish Food you Must Try. Do not miss these!

Photo Credits: Tortilla, Paella, Turron

30 Comments

  1. I have tried all of these and love them all. Turron is what we bring for friends/family when we travel to Spain.

    • I see you are a food lover like me! I love turron too and wish I can have it at least weekly. I have to say I miss bacalao a lot.

  2. My daughter returns to Spain (Andalusia) every year mainly because of the food. I love Tapas – you can taste a little bit from all!

    • I love, love Spanish food too. I am trying to return this year but not sure if I am going to be able to pull it off.

  3. mmm…I love jamon!
    thankfully we have some similar dishes in Greece: the cod, the tortilla (my mother in law makes a delicious one) and the nougat!
    Anna recently posted..Babaji, Indian Restaurant, AthensMy Profile

    • I melt every time I here the word jamon. Great there are similar things you eat in Greece.

    • It is interesting how some things are basically the same but called different. I would like to try the Italian counterparts.

    • No problem! Hope you can find some delicious Spanish food in Canada.

  4. Hello, wonderful list and post. I would like to try the Paella, maybe even find a recipe to make it at home. Happy Wednesday, enjoy your day!

    • Eileen, I think you can find a “shortcut” recipe to make a paella. I am sure if your be a hit with the family.

  5. Interesting preparations with spinach.
    Rajesh recently posted..ShamalajiMy Profile

    • Not sure what you are referring to but thanks for your comment!

    • I think that is why I am so fond of Spanish food. It has influenced the cuisine of all the Spanish speaking countries in the Americas (and other countries too).

  6. Looks delicious! I haven’t tried all of those, but the ham is my favorite.

    • Agree! Ham is my favorite too!

    • I feel the same way. Almost made it to Spain this year again.

  7. Paella has got to be one of my favorite dishes. I’ve had paella outside of Spain, but the best ever paella I’d ever tried was in Valencia. My mouth still waters every time I think of it!
    Buckeroomama recently posted..The Grind and the CrunchMy Profile

    • To be honest, I have not eaten a good one in some time. Hope I can have a tasty one soon.

  8. You just picked out some of my own favourite Spanish foods. Each year we holiday in Menorca where I always head for the local food shops, if only to take in the wonderful smells of curing ham and cheeses.

    Did you forget chorizo?
    Phil recently posted..Another Gull FirstMy Profile

    • You know what? I didn’t think about chorizo but I love it. When I hear chorizo, I think about the Spanish kind. It is a little heartbreaking to order chorizo here in California and get the Mexican kind (most are bad, some are good).

    • Hmm! Spanish restaurants in Tokyo? I wander how the food tastes in there.

  9. I love Spanish food. I haven’t tried all of those, but my favorite dishes are paella and tortilla. Greetings

  10. Our son-in-law is Cuban and lived in Spain before emigrating to the USA. He purchases big legs of jamon and we carve thin slices before dinner as “appetizers,” but I could live on it. Of course he is very particular about buying the right chorizo and has a good friend make the paella. For some reason he does not like eggs but we hosted an exchange student from Spain and he made a delicious tortilla for us. When we were in Madrid we visited the mercadoss where the jamon hung all around the walls– (I forget what these stores were called). Very interesting post!
    Ken Schneider recently posted..Crops & Clips: Flashback to August, 2013My Profile

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