Spain's Most Popular Dishes Are The Perfect Way To Ring In The Summer – TheTravel
We’re celebrating summer a little bit early with the traditional flavors of Spain, which make us feel like brighter days are right around the corner.
There’s more to Spain than tapas and there’s more to Spanish food than just serrano and charcuterie. While these are three excellent choices to try while a traveler is in Spain, there’s so much more to this country’s most popular dishes that have nothing to do with any of them… and they’re just as exceptional. Spain is known for its fresh, bold flavors and with its proximity to the sea, seafood is a common ingredient in many of its most traditional dishes. However, vegetables also have a place in its cuisine and that’s what makes this culinarily-minded country so incredible: the range in its dishes, and its flavors, are second to none.
Now that summer feels as though it’s finally right around the corner, there are many dishes that can be recreated at home while we bide the time until we can visit Europe once again. In honor of warmer months, brighter days, and warmer temperatures, these dishes are just the ticket to lift a person’s spirits and get them in the summer mood.
If you think that vegetables can’t make up an entire meal, then think again. Gazpacho is perhaps one of the most clever and brilliant uses for raw vegetables and it’s unbelievably easy to make.
That aside, this cold soup serves up the flavor in spades, from the vegetables that will likely be in-season by the time you make it, to the hot sauce, cumin, and vinegar that give it stellar flavor and body. Half of the soup is pureed while half is left chunky so the texture throughout this soup is just as unbelievable as its flavor. Serve it up with a few extra dashes of hot sauce, a drizzle of good olive oil, or some chilled shrimp to make it a full meal.
This isn’t just your average omelet. Tortilla Española is similar to the Italian frittata in thickness and in its cooking method which is done easily in the oven.
Traditionally, caramelized onions and potatoes sit in the bottom of any cast-iron or oven-safe pan and add sweetness and saltiness to the dish, while chorizo and spinach are also commonly added. It’s filling all on its own and it’s great for breakfast but serves even better as a lunch dish, and with a fresh side salad, it’s a complete meal.
This dish might look like ratatouille but in Spain, it’s called pisto. This dish is actually a cross between ratatouille and bruschetta, as the freshest of vegetables for the season are tossed up with some good olive oil and simple spices, and served just as-is.
Traditionally, the vegetable mixture can be served with a side of crusty bread and a side salad, echoing the traditional, fresh flavors of Spain.
For the seafood lovers, this one goes out to you! Pulpo a la gallega is an adventurous dish that utilizes octopus as its main protein which isn’t surprising, considering octopus is seen in many Spanish dishes.
In order to bring out the true flavors of the octopus while allowing it to shine in all of its simplicity, the only spices added are salt, pepper, and a bit of paprika. The octopus is served over cooked potato slices and to finish, a bit of good olive oil is all that’s needed. It’s fresh, flavorful, and exudes Spanish comfort.
Another option for those who aren’t on board with octopus is gambas al ajillo. This dish uses shrimp instead of octopus and is also made in quite a simple way; this dish doubles as an option for tapas but when served as a small meal, it’s delicious.
Large prawns are cooked in olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper, roasted garlic, and chili flakes. It’s a little spicy with simple flavors that absolutely scream summer, and a bit of good, crusty bread is the perfect accompaniment for soaking up all of that delicious sauce left at the bottom of the pan.
Now, for something really sweet… literally! No good summer dinner is complete without a little dessert and Spain has this covered, too. The base of Leche frita is ‘fried milk’ which might sound strange until you realize how utterly delicious it is.
This dish is commonly found throughout Northern Spain and starts with a decadent milk pudding which is then battered and fried, creating a crunchy exterior with a milky, creamy, and sweet interior. It gets a topping of either powdered sugar or whipped cream and that’s really all you need for this heavenly dish.
Next: Once Again, Italy’s Burrata Is Anticipated To Be One Of The Most Popular Summer Ingredients
Originally from New York, Katie is used to a fast-paced lifestyle. She got her personal start with writing in the second grade, and carried that passion with her until she won a spot in her high school’s published poetry book – but not before becoming the News Editor and columnist for the high school newspaper. In college, she majored in English Literature with an emphasis in Political Science, soaking up most creativity and method from one of the last professors to study under famed beat poet Allen Ginsberg. The more she wrote, the more she learned about the world and, more importantly, herself. She has been writing professionally and has been published since the age of 19, and for nearly a decade has covered topics in entertainment, lifestyle, music news, video game reviews, food culture, and now has the privilege of writing and editing for TheTravel. Katie has a firm belief that every word penned is a journey into yourself and your own thoughts, and through understanding this, people can begin to understand each other. Through her voice, she brings personality, research, and a bit of friendly sarcasm to every piece she writes and edits.