Spanish cuisine has a strong influence on various regional cuisines and history has helped to shape the culture’s food traditions.
Many food lovers believe that Spanish food is uncomplicated and down to earth. Ingredients can be found with ease when grown locally. In the history of traditional Spanish cuisine, cooking has varied from region to region due to the geography of Spain. Spain has mountain ranges that cross the country. Bergen forms a natural boundary that has made communication and transport difficult in the country until the latter part of the 20th century.
Many Spanish dishes have not changed, in terms of how they are cooked and the ingredients used. The Arabs have contributed immensely to the Spanish art of cooking. Americans and Europeans have also influenced Spanish cuisine. As a rule, Spanish cuisine is fresh, plentiful, and tasty.
What is so special about the ingredients in Spanish cuisine? – Most common ingredients
Like all types of cuisine, Spanish dishes have their own basic ingredients: olive oil and garlic. However, due to regional differences, other ingredients may differ, while olive oil and garlic remain.
Olive oil – most Spanish recipes require olive oil or fat. Spain is a world leader in olive oil production and olives grow mainly in southern Spain, and especially in the Andalusia region. This is the main reason why many Spanish dishes use olive oil.
Ham – many Spanish dishes require ham or jamón. The Spaniards value their ham high and the ham is found in many Spanish recipes.
Seafood and fish – Spain’s geographical location on the Iberian Peninsula means that the country is surrounded by water. Because of this, there is plenty of seafood and fish in the country. The Spaniards eat all kinds of marine animals from fish, seafood, octopus, and eel, and have special recipes for all marine animals.
Sausages – have you ever tasted chorizo? This is a sausage of pork mixed with pepper and comes in different varieties. Spanish families often prepare their own chorizo for the winter. They hang their chorizo in the basement or in the attic to dry until it’s time to eat the sausage.
Eggs – are an important ingredient in many recipes such as omelets, desserts, and salads.
Chicken – prepared in many different ways, but fried or stewed chicken is especially common in Spanish cuisine.
Fruits and vegetables – the Spaniards are very fond of fruits as a dessert or as a snack. Sauteed vegetables are often seen on the table, and the most common are peppers, eggplant, and zucchini.
Legumes – all kinds of beans are eaten regularly. They have all varieties in Spanish cuisine. They are considered a staple and are consumed more often than bread.
Nuts – Almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts are all common in many Spanish recipes.
Herbs and spices – garlic, onion, oregano, rosemary, and thyme.
How meals are prepared in Spanish
Casseroles are common in Spanish cuisine and are called by different names, such as cocido, olla, pote, guiso, estofado. Casseroles are one of the cornerstones of Spanish food, but they vary depending on the region and different areas have their own variety of casserole. In addition to pots, it is common in Spanish cuisine to roast, fry, and saute.
As in other countries, food is served at least three times a day in Spain. Desayuno or breakfast is served just after waking up or before going to work. Lunch (el almuerzo) is the big meal in the middle of the day, which is usually served between 14:00 and 14:30.
This meal usually includes six dishes and consists of soup or pasta, salad, fish or meat dishes and desserts. La cena (dinner) is served between 20:30 and 10:00. It is usually slightly lighter than lunch and consists only of a dish and a dessert. Between lunch and dinner it is also common to take a smaller meal or la merienda. Appetizers like tapas are also common before lunch or dinner.