La Mata, on the Costa Blanca in sunny Spain La Mata, on the Costa Blanca in sunny Spain

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Spanish food and Spanish recipes - La Mata

Traditional Spanish food is influenced by the Greek, Roman, Phoenician and Moorish settlements, and typical Spanish food is not only about tortillas and paella, the immense variety of Spanish food recipes is enough to satisfy anyone. Allow us to introduce you to some of Spain's gastronomic delights and acquaint you with some of the traditional Spanish food menus.

Traditional Spanish Food
Garlic, olives, plus sweet and hot peppers are important ingredients in most Spanish recipes. Meat, poultry, game and fish also feature prominently in traditional Spanish food recipes. Savory pies and rice dishes are meals in themselves. The Basque country features fish dishes principally, such as fish soup, garlicky baby eels, squid, and a variety of dried cod dishes. The seafood from the Galicia region is famous as are the casseroles from Cataluna. Cataluna is a premier Spanish region that boasts of gastronomical delicacies - which includes seafood zarzuela, fine sausages and regional sauces. The rice dishes are a specialty of Valencia and surrounding regions of Spain. While Andalucia is known for its fried fish and gazpacho, central Spain is renowned for its succulent roast recipes.

Spanish breakfast's are generally light. Most Spanish breakfasts consists of coffee and a croissant or roll. Tortillas or omelettes are also eaten for breakfast. The lunch (la comida) and the dinner (la cena) menus are fairly elaborate. The Spanish Tapas or snacks are popular. A Tasca or Tapas bar is a place where most Spaniards relax at the end of the day. The traditions of Tapas or snacks that accompany a wine or alcoholic drink dates back to a Spanish king. Spanish Tapas menus can encompass simple dishes made of cheese and eggs or more elaborate canapés, dips and savory pastries.

Spanish Menu
An important specialty Spanish food is jamon Serrano which is a special ham that is salt-cured. This type of Spanish ham is not smoked. Sausages are also very popular in the Spanish diet. Chorizo and Salchichon are examples of hard sausages while sobrasada is a soft and spreadable sausage. A Spanish menu is accompanied by a Spanish red wine. The Rioja and Montilla are famous, though there are many varieties of tintos, blancos and rosadas. Salads and fried potatoes come as entrees in a typical Spanish food menu. Desserts are made of eggs, ground almonds, flour and milk.


List of Spanish Tapas
:
Albondigas - Meatballs
Alitas de pollo - Chicken wings
Almejas - Clams
Berenjenas horneadas - Roasted aubergines
Butifarra - Sausage from Catalunya
Calamares - Battered squid
Callos - Tripe
Caracoles - Snails
Chistorra - Spicy sausage
Chopitos -  Small cuttlefish fried in batter
Chorizo al vino - Spicy sausage pan-fried in red wine
Cogollos fritos - Lettuce fried in garlic and oil
Criadillas - Bull's testicles
Costillas - Ribs
Croquetas - Croquettes, normally with ham, chicken or cod
Diablitos picantes - Mini hamburgers
Escombros - Fry up of bits of small squid.
Figatell - Speciality of Valencia meatballs of pork and liver
similar to faggots
Gambas pil pil - Sizzling Prawns in Olive Oil and Garlic
Gambas rebozadas - Battered prawns
Huevos de codorniz - Quail's eggs
Jamon serrano - Spanish ham
Judias blancas - Butterbeans and whole cloves of garlic in a
white wine vinegar
Longaniza blanca - Normal sausage colour but not as spicy as longaniza roja
Longaniza roja - A speciality of Aragon, red spicy pork  sausage
Magro - Pork in a paprika/tomato style sauce
Manitas de cerdo - Pig's trotters
Mejillones - Mussels
Merluza a la Romana - Hake with a very thin batter
Morcilla - Black pudding
Muslitos de mar - A croquette of crab-like meat skewered on a crab claw
Orejas de Cerdo - Pig's ear
Patatas a lo pobre - Potatoes with onions and peppers
Patatas alioli - Potatoes in a garlic mayonnaise
Patatas bravas - Potatoes in a spicy sauce
Pinchito - Kebab
Pollo al ajillo - Chicken in garlic
Queso Manchego - Manchego cheese in varying degrees of maturity
Rabo de Toro - Bull's tail or oxtail
Sepia - Cuttlefish
Sesos - Brains, usually lamb or calf
Tortilla Espanyola - Spanish potato omelette but can also have peas, ham etc.

Spanish recipes

Paella

Kindly emailed in by Sue, from Telford in Shropshire, England.
Paella Valenciana (Paella is a traditional rice dish of Spain - made with seafood, chicken, rabbit or vegetables. The rice you use in your paella depends on your preference - whole grain rice or wild rice or the short grained Spanish rice which is used for traditional Spanish rice dishes.)

4 cups of rice
8 cups of stock
8 - 10 each of prawns and mussels
200 gm of shrimps
2 tomatoes chopped
3 -4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Few strands of saffron
Olive oil
Sauté garlic in a pan with little olive oil. Add tomatoes,  shrimps and saffron then cook till soft. Add rice and stock and salt and cook for about 20 minutes. Add prawns and mussels and cook for a few minutes more with a lid.


Pollo al horno con almendras y piñones - Chicken casserole with almonds and pine nuts

It was the first visit to the food page on lamatainformation.com for Christina from Sale in Cheshire (England), but she just couldn't wait to tell us all about her yummy chicken casserole recipe.  Thanks Christina.

Recipe for six people:

1 chicken cut into pieces.
6 small potatoes
2 ripe tomatoes
3 medium-sized onions Spanish food and Spanish recipes - Chicken casserole
6 desert spoonfuls of olive oil
100 grams of pine nuts
100 grams of almonds
1 small glass of white wine
Juice of half a lemon
2 cloves of garlic
1 sprig of parsley
1 sprig of thyme
Pepper
1 chicken stock cube
salt

Rub the bottom of oven dish / casserole dish with a clove of garlic and then put the chicken pieces inside the dish.

Cut the peeled potatoes, tomatoes and onions into large pieces and put them in the oven dish with the chicken.

Finely chop the garlic and sprinkle on top.
Roughly chop the parsley and thyme and sprinkle on top.

Now put in the pine nuts, almonds, lemon juice, and pepper and salt.

Place the chicken stock cube in a small cup of warm water and dissolve. Add this to the casserole mixture along with the glass of white wine and olive oil.

Put the casserole dish on the middle shelf in the oven and cook for one and a half hours at 180º (gas mark 4).


Tortilla
If you like the taste of french fries, you'll love the Spanish tortilla. When made correctly, the Spanish tortilla is a delicious half-inch thick "cake" of fried potatoes mixed with fried eggs and onions. After cooking, the tortilla can be cut into pizza-like triangles to serve 4-6 people, or cut into squares to give a whole group a bite-sized toothpick sample.

1 cup olive oil
four large potatoes (peel and cut into small pieces about 2mm thick)
salt to taste
one large onion, thinly sliced
four large eggs.

Some people add thin slices of red pepper together with the onion.

Heat the olive oil in a 9-inch skillet, add potato pieces, one slice at a time so that they don't stick. Alternate layers of potato and onion. Cook slowly, medium flame. Do not fry!! Turn occasionally until potatoes are tender, but not brown. They must be loose, not "in a cake".

Beat the eggs in a large bowl with a fork. Salt to taste. Drain potatoes. Add potatoes to beaten eggs, pressing them so that the eggs cover them completely. Leave for 15 minutes, then heat 2 tbsps of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add potato-egg mixture, spreading quickly. Lower the heat to medium-high. Shake pan to prevent sticking (very important!!) When potatoes start to brown, put a plate on top skillet and flip to cook other side, adding another tbsp of oil. Brown on the other side. Can flip three or four times for better cooking.


If you come across any other typical Spanish food not mentioned above, or any other Spanish recipes, just email details to Spanish-Food@LaMataInformation.com

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