- Southern European
Perfect if friends drop in or after an exhausting day at the sales this traditional Andalusian meal is bursting full of healthy tomatoes and peppers and only takes a few minutes to prepare.
Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK
69 people made this
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 red peppers, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 500g fresh tomatoes, grated on a cheese grater
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 8 eggs
- 8 slices Serrano ham
- 8 slices chorizo
- 150g frozen peas
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped parsley to garnish
MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:30min ›Ready in:45min
- Preheat oven to 200 C / Gas 6.
- Make a ‘sofrito’ by frying the onion and peppers slowly in the olive oil, when they’re soft add the garlic (approximately 10 minutes). Continue to fry briefly until the garlic releases its aroma then add the tomatoes and smoked paprika and fry the sofrito gently for 15 minute. Season to taste.
- Divide the sofrito into 4 ramekins, break 2 eggs on top of each and place 2 slices of ham, 2 slices of chorizo and a handful of peas on top.
- Bake the ramekins for about 10 minutes or until the eggs are set but still runny.
- Garnish with parsley and serve with crusty bread.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(1)
Reviews in English (1)
Thanks for the lovely recipe. I replaced the Serrano ham with bacon style vegetarian slices because we all don't eat meat, but for our taste buds it was wonderful.-26 Dec 2012
The Spanish proverb already warns us…
“What you eat is what you raise”
“Eat and drink that life is short.”
“With an empty belly no one shows joy.”
Gastronomy and flamenco are linked. They are two types of art whose good combination results in an explosion of taste and pleasure for the senses.
Flamencos and flamencas have defined and enviable customs when sitting at the table.
Here are a few flamenco recipes that will fill you with it spirit and energy:
Tebūnie spalvingas ketvirtadienis! Norite įdomesnių, spalvotų ir kvapnių pusryčių ar pietų?? Štai Jums puiki idėja, kaip galima praskaidrinti dienos meniu! Ispaniškas užkeptų kiaušinių receptas, kilęs iš Andalūzijos regiono. Ispanai yra ir šiaip spalvingi žmonės, tad patiekalas tikrai atspindi jų kraštą.
Pagaminimas – nieko per daug ypatingo ar sudėtingo, daržoves galite rinktis pagal savo nuožiūrą ir mėgstamas spalvas. Toks patiekalas ypač patogus gaminti, kuomet turite šiek tiek daržovių ir mėsytės likučių ir nežinote kur sunaudoti – tad štai – išsikepkite flamenko kiaušinienę!
250 ml naminio pomidorų padažo (žr. receptą žemiau)
2 vidutinio dydžio morkos
200 g žalių šparaginių pupelių
keletas gabalėlių keptos konservuotos paprikos
600 ml padažo> – šiam receptui reikės 250 ml padažo
125 ml alyvuogių aliejaus
800 g konservuotų pomidorų be odelių
3 didelės česnako skiltelės
- Naminis pomidorų padažas– svogūną ir česnako skilteles nulupame, supjaustome kubeliais. Papriką taip pat supjaustome kubeliais. Puode, ant vidutinės ugnies įkaitiname visą alyvuogių aliejų. Sudedame svogūną ir papriką, kepame ant vidutinės ugnies, kol suminkštėja, po to sudedame česnaką, pakepiname dar apie 5 min. Po to sudedame susmulkintus pomidorus, viską išmaišome, pagardiname druska, pipirais, puodą uždengiame dangčiu ir troškiname 15 min, vis pamaišome. Kai padažas baigia troškintis, nukeliame nuo ugnies ir sutriname bulvių trintuvu arba naudojame blenderį (aš tryniau bulvių trintuvu, tuomet lieka didesni daržovių gabalėliai).
- Pupeles supjaustome maždaug 3 cm ilgio gabalėliais, morkas nulupame, supjaustome nedideliais plonais gabalėliais. Į puodą įpilame apie 1,5 l vandens, suberiame morkas, pupeles ir žirnelius. Verdame, kol daržovės suminkštėja (tik nereikia pervirti). Kai išvirs nukošiame.
- Į 3-is karščiui atsparius nedidelius indelius tolygiai paskirstome naminį pomidorų padažą, tolygiai sudedame virtas daržoves.
- Kumpio riekeles suplėšome, išdėliojame ant daržovių.
- Chorizo dešreles supjaustome griežinėliais, išdėliojame ant daržovių.
- Konservuotus paprikų gabalėlius supjaustome juostelėmis, išdėliojame indelyje ratu.
- Kiekvieno indelio viduryje padarome nedidelę duobutę, įmušame po kiaušinį. Pabarstome kiaušinį ir daržoves druska.
- Kepame iki 180 C įkaitintoje orkaitėje
>> Galite patiekti su prancūzišku batonu, bet taip keptas kiaušinis skanus ir be jokių priedų.
16 of the Very Best Typical Dishes You Need to Try from The Andalusian Province
Andalusian gastronomy, which has been deeply influenced by the Arabic Cuisine, bases its dishes on raw ingredients of the Mediterranean diet. Healthy, hearty and filling. We bring you the best dishes to try while on your next trip to the South of Spain.
The refinement of the province Al Andalus, unknown in mainland Europe, has transformed many different customs and beliefs. Let’s not forget that it was the Andalusians who created the traditional dining rooms as well as the current food service, amongst many other things. Let’s just say that they are profound cooks and love sharing their food with the world.
It is also very important to highlight the golden ingredient of all recipes from the seaside to the mountain. Olive oil or as it is known here liquid gold. Let’s give credit where credit is due! Even though the precise origins of the olive trees are shrouded in mystery, it is well known that the cultivation of olives and oil production are deeply rooted in the history books of Spain, which were brought to the Iberian Peninsula by the Phoenicians and the Greeks. By the way, if you feel like tasting the best Olive Oil in Andalusia, then you need to check our Day Trip to Carmona Here.
Here you will find a compilation of the best Culinary treasures of the province of Andalucia. Que aproveche!
Huelva : In the heart of Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche, while contemplating the pristine paradise that surrounds you, why not enjoy the refined taste of the best Iberian Ham, Jamón de Huelva ? It is undoubtedly the Star Ham of the peninsula which, together with a country style bread variety, provides a unique and unmistakable flavour that leaves your taste buds craving for more.
If you decide to stay along the seaside, you might as well taste the variety of seafood which, in our opinion, are indispensable to the coastal Andalusian cuisine. This includes “choco frito” which is fried cuttlefish and the delicacy of “ mojama ” which is salt-cured tuna. Did you know that the word Mojama comes from the Arabic Musama (dry) with Phoenician origins?
Sevilla : close your eyes for a second and picture yourself in a Spanish terrace with views of the Giralda, listening to flamenco music. Now, let´s make it unforgettable by ordering “huevos a la Flamenca ” which are fried eggs served with vegetables and sauce in a clay pot. If you’re feeling adventurous enough, you must taste the “Caracoles” , which are snails with a smooth sauce made with different herbs such as thyme, cumin, and sometimes, peppermint.
Granada : La Alhambra de Granada a true wonder of culture, is also a fascinating setting which can not be visited without exploring the local cuisine. The most representative tapa of this wonderful city is the distinguished “Patatas a lo Pobre” which are potatoes cut into slices roasted in the oven along with onions and peppers and garlic. Is your mouth watering already? Well, then wait until you try the sweet “Pionos de Santa Fe”. This is the Granadian dessert par excellence. Delicious sponge cakes with custard cream. You should not miss out on this while in Granada. We can take you to the most traditional restaurant in Granada to try these dishes on our day trip to Granada Here.
Cádiz : The home of the Spanish Navy, a port city in the south of Spain. Its gastronomy is the fruit of years and journeys packed with history and spirit combined with products that have allowed us to enjoy different tastes from different centuries . “Almejas a la Marinera”’ typical clams made with a wine sauce with garlic and parsley, and “tortillitas de Camarones”, using a particular type of shrimp exclusively found in this region.
Córdoba : During the first rain storms of late winter, the countryside provides us with ingredients such as asparagus which along with onions, eggs, and jamón, make an appreciating exquisiteness dish called “revuelto cordobés”. Traveling with children during warm season? Then it´s time to introduce the Cordoban delight “salmorejo”. This classic Andalusian summer hit makes a virtue of simplicity, as we try to cope with summer temperatures. Try the best Salmorejo on your day trip with us to Cordoba. More info Here.
Jaén : Its gastronomy has similarities with the cuisine of the province of Castilla la Mancha, due to its proximity. The mountainous terrain favors ‘game’ dishes over others. “Carne de Monte en adobo” , is basically marinating wild boar or deer meat in wine, brandy, and aromatic herbs for 24 hours before roasting it to perfection. A vegetarian option would definitely be from the variety of mushrooms available . “Setas de Cardo” is perfect for a typical side dish. It is a healthier way of exploring tapas in the South of Spain and this dish is simply done with mushrooms, olive oil, garlic, and parsley in the oven.
Almería: It’s numerous and exquisite traditional dishes surprise us due to the simplicity of the ingredients as well as the use of different types of spices that give their dishes a unique flavor and with which it is very easy to conquer the palate of the most demanding diners. “El gazpacho cortijero” is a variant of the traditional gazpacho that is made in all the Andalusian regions. In its elaboration, it uses ground almonds and skinless grapes or pipes for the presentation. Another type of soup (served hot) is “Sopa de Almería” done with Monkfish, accompanied by clams, prawns, peas, red peppers, and carrots. Delicious!
Málaga : Known for its high-rise hotels and resorts that spring up from the golden sand beaches, Málaga also has a refined cuisine that you can not miss out on. If you come to Málaga there are several dishes you need to try, mainly, “espetos” and “fritura Malagueña”. First of all, “espetos” , usually refers to sardines, skewered and cooked over a pit of coals. The only seasoning is a bit of olive oil and sea salt. Fritura Malagueña is a cocktail composed of many fish from the coast of Malaga such as anchovies, mullet, cuttlefish, squid, whiting, and much more. The result? A sensational blend of fresh and delicious fish that stimulate all your senses. Enjoy this dish with a cool glass of white wine from Spain! You can have some great seafood dishes at El Liro Restaurant Here.
If you like our blog and are interested in reading more from some other amazing Blogs in Spain – do check out this blog by Molly Here.
Films to take you there.
Sit back, relax and soak up some Spanish action
Spain is a regular favourite with filmmakers, attracted by the architecture, the rugged inland countryside and, of course, the stunning coast.
These are three of our favourites for a warm summer evening:
Vicky Christina Barcelona - Woody Allen
Filmed in, you guessed it, Barcelona, this funny, romantic comedy-drama stars Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson.
Love and tension follow when two young American women spend a summer in the city and meet an older Spanish artist who has his eye on both of them.
Buy or rent
The Way - Emilio Estevez
A father, played by Martin Sheen, receives terrible news that results in him going to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago. What results is a moving story of friendships, courage and hope.
Open Your Eyes - Alejandro Amenábar
Starring Penelope Cruz, this is one of the most critically acclaimed Spanish films of the last 20 years. It was remade as the less than brilliant Vanilla Sky. A film full of dark mysteries and forgotten memories. The setting on the mediterranean makes it worth a watch, the engaging story seals the deal.
Buy or rent
S ide Dishes
- Patatas a lo Pobre – potatoes of the poor, include potatoes, green pepper, onion, and garlic, they saute in extra virgin olive oil.
- D.O.P. Huétor Tájar Asparagus – comes from the fertile valley near Granada. It is very fragrant.
- P.G.I. Escacena Chickpea – offer a creamy, non-grainy texture and a delicate taste.
- Sierra de Aracena Mushrooms – have no status rating, but they should. They saute them in olive oil, oye.
- D.O.P. Cherimoya (custard apple) – is a fragile apple with sweet fruit. It is for eating alone or as apple bits, but not for cooking. You find them around Malaga and Granada.
- D.O.P. Malaga raisins – go through natural dehydration, making a pure sweet fruit.
- P.G.I. Tomate La Cañada – from the Almeria region, they produce cherry, ribbed, and oblong varieties of this tasty tomato.
- Castillo de Locubín cherries – from the region north of Grenada are delicious in everything.
- Los Palacios Tomato – is the perfect tomato, in a sauce or by itself.
- Mermelada (marmalade) de Naranja ácida (bitter orange) – was for many years a product of England. How many orange trees do you see in England? The majority of the oranges were from Seville.
Peaches, nectarines, and plums are very popular in Andalusia.
A Bitter Orange tree in Cordoba.
Taste Andalusia Vinegar
Sherry Vinegar is a condiment resulting from the fermentation of wine made from grapes grown for sherry.
- Sherry Vinegar – ages for approximately six months in old sherry casks of American oak.
- Reserve Sherry Vinegar – ages for more than two years. Everything increases during this time.
- Vinagre de JerezP.D.O.. – is a vinegar from the Jerez-Xérès-Sherry and Manzanilla Sanlúcar de Barrameda. It produces a strong, rich, sherry with a winey flavor.
Jerez Sherry Vinegar
- Sherry Vinegar, P.D.O. Reserve – is the first Spanish vinegar to receive P.D.O., statue. It includes hints of the oak wood from the aging.
Taste Andalusia Desserts.
Miel de Cana – is honey they make from sugarcane and is more like molasses. It came to Spain via the Moors. Today, the only factory in Europe making this type of honey is in the Andalusia white village of Frigiliana.
Another staple in sweets that came with the Moors is the use of almonds.
- Mantecado de Estepa P.G.I., – are shortbreads from the town of Estepa, south of Cordoba. They come in several flavors and are famous.
- Castilleja de la Cuesta Tortas de Aceite P.G.I. – come from the Castilleja de La Cuesta, 30 miles south of Estepa. They are famous for their olive oil, flour, and sugar biscuit.
- Piononos de Santa Fe – come from a bakery’s secret recipe in the small town of Santa Fe, near Granada. Looking like the Pope (if you squint real tight), they roll sponge cake into a cylinder. They pour different syrups over this cake. For his hat, they toast cream (think meringue).
- Torrijas Sevillanas – are strips of bread they dip in wine, then batter and fry before topping with local honey. A favorite at holidays, occasionally you can find it at other times of the year.
- Mostachon – come from Utrera, southeast of Seville. They are a type of shortbread for dipping in hot chocolate or coffee.
- Alfajor de Medina Sidonia P.G.I. – are an old Spanish dessert from Andalusia. This cookie is famous in Medina Sidonia (Cádiz). The dough includes pure bee honey, almonds, hazelnuts, cinnamon, and other spices.
- Pestiños – are a sweet dough they deep-fry in olive oil and top with sugar or honey. You can find these in several towns.
- Pan de Cádiz(Turrón de Cádiz) – is a large rectangular pan of marzipan (sugar or honey and almond meal) from Cádiz. They form it into a Pan (bread) and often include candied fruit in the middle.
As a way to raise money, many convents did, and still do bake and sell sweets.
As they are in seclusion, they cannot come face to face with outsiders. At most convents, you will find a list of items for sale next to a revolving tray. You place the appropriate amount of money on the lazy-susan and rotate it behind the wall. A few moments later, the platter spins back with your treat on it.
- Yemas de San Leandro – The nuns at the Convento de San Leandro in Seville have been selling the same sweet for over 400 years. It is a small cake they make from sugar, lemon juice, and egg yolks.
- Hojaldres de Cabello de ángel – are filo with a pumpkin jam (angels hair) filling. You can find this at several nunneries and bakeries.
- Pastel Cordobes – is a variation on the Hojaldres where they add ham to the pumpkin filling. You can find it several places but try the Santa Isabel de los Ángeles monastery in Córdoba.
- Pan de Alfacar P.G.I. – comes from Alfacar near Grenada. The slow fermentation creates many nooks (air pockets) so perfect for holding local jam or butter. They form the dough into rolls, buns, and rings.
- Olvorones – is a sweet bread usually for festive seasons, but now you can find it year-round, especially in Andalusia.
And there are about 1000 more you should try.
Surprisingly Spicy Spain
“We use many spices in Spanish cooking,” said Gabriela Llamas, a noted cookbook author and cooking school owner in Madrid, as she prepared to teach a class on Spanish regional cuisines.
“Remember that when Columbus discovered the New World, he wasn’t looking for a new world, he was looking for the Spice Route to Asia,” she added. “And later the Dutch and British fought wars over access to those spices in Asia. A boat full of nutmeg was worth as much as a boat full of gold.”
Lined up on Gabriela’s table were bowls of saffron, cinnamon, cloves, paprika, salt, black pepper, bay leaves, and fresh garlic, all of which soon found their way into brightly colored, subtly spiced dishes from Extremadura in the western part of Spain, the Basque country in the north, and Valencia on the Mediterranean coast.
A Spicy History
Most of the spices used in Spanish cooking today came to Spain over several centuries, from distant lands and by many routes. Black pepper and cloves from Asia were probably used by the Romans who ruled much of Spain from approximately 200 BC until 400 AD. Beginning in 711 AD, invading armies of Arabs and Berbers (collectively called “Moors”) from North Africa swept up into the Iberian Peninsula, soon conquering most of the territory of Spain. During nearly 800 years of Moorish rule in various regions of the country, Arab merchants and horticulturalists introduced many herbs and spices, including mint, coriander, cinnamon, and cumin. And by the 16th century, allspice, vanilla, and Capsicum peppers (including fiery-hot chiles) from the Western Hemisphere were added to the repertoire of ingredients available to Spanish cooks.
An assortment of fresh green and red peppers at La Boqueria food market in Barcelona
In 1492 Christopher Columbus sailed from the Spanish port of Palos de la Frontera on his first voyage in search of a westward sea route to the spice-producing lands of Asia. Instead, he bumped into some islands of the Western Hemisphere, an accident of navigation that changed the history of the world–including its culinary history. Capsicum peppers were among the many new plants that Columbus brought back to Spain from his four journeys to the “New World” he had inadvertently found. And as early as 1493, these peppers were being grown in Spain, at first only as ornamental plants, but soon for use in cooking, too.
When Columbus first encountered pungent-tasting peppers in the Caribbean islands, he called them pimientos , a derivative of the Spanish word for “pepper” ( pimienta ), the completely different spice he was actually seeking in Asia. That’s why today all Capsicum peppers in Spain–from large to small, mild to hot–are called generically pimientos , whereas pepper spice from Asia is pimienta negra (black pepper), pimienta blanca (white pepper), pimienta en grano (peppercorns), or pimienta molida (ground pepper, black or white). Small, hot, dried red Capsicum peppers are sometimes also referred to as chilis , after the Nahuatl (Mexican) term used for the pungent pods on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
When ripe-red Capsicum peppers are dried and milled into powder in Spain, the resulting product is the distinctive paprika spice known as pimenton . The Spanish produce three basic types of pimenton : dulce , mild or “sweet,” with a rich, even meaty flavor agricdulce , “bittersweet,” with a rich, meaty flavor and sometimes a hint or “bite” of sourness, often followed by a hot-spicy aftertaste and picante , truly hot-spicy paprika, used more sparingly in Spanish cooking. Although dulce paprikas are the most common in Spain, agridulces and picantes have a distinct role in spicing up the cuisine.
An assortment of Spanish pimentón (paprika) at La Boqueria
food market in Barcelona
In 1893, when the Spanish gastronome Angel Muro published his first edition of El Practicon –Spain’s nineteenth-century equivalent of the Joy of Cooking –he referred to both sweet and hot pimentón . Muro claimed that paprika had “become, for almost all the inhabitants of Spain, but primarily for those of [the region of] Old Castile, an article of prime necessity, like salt and vinegar.” He went on to say that in Old Castile “not a single food is put on the table that is not seasoned with sweet or hot paprika.” He also pointed out that large amounts of paprika were consumed in the region of Extremadura, not only as an ingredient in cooked dishes, but also as an element in preserving the many types of chorizos (pork sausages) produced in that part of Spain.
Today, Extremadura is one of the major paprika-producing regions of Spain, along with Leon, Murcia, and Catalonia. Pimentón de La Vera –smoked paprika from La Vera region of Extremadura–was the first paprika to earn a Denominacíon de Origen designation, or “protected name status,” in Spain, ensuring that only the special paprika produced there could bear that title. This distinctive type of paprika from Extremadura is made by smoking a variety of ripe red peppers (depending on the type of paprika desired) over smoldering embers of holm oak for 10 to 15 days before the peppers are ground into powder. Unsmoked pimentón , from Murcia and other regions of Spain, is made from peppers that have been dried in the sun (the artisanal method) or over hot air from electric heaters in large-scale commercial paprika factories.
Nearly 80 percent of all the pimentón produced in Spain goes into making the many kinds of deep-red chorizo sausages for which the country is also famous. The remainder is used in cooking a wide range of dishes, from tasty tapas to hearty fish soups and meat stews. And a small amount of pimentón is exported to other countries, as more and more people outside of Spain are discovering the distinctive flavor of Spanish paprika, which is different from the other well known paprikas produced in places like Hungary and the United States. (See “Sources” sidebar.)
Pimientos de Padrón
Galician pimientos de Padron waiting to be fried
in a Tapas bar in Madrid
The Spanish do not have timid tongues. Despite their preference for mild fresh peppers and sweet paprikas, many Spaniards enjoy eating hot-spicy foods, too. One or two dried hot peppers are often dropped into a soup or stew, in the same way that salt and black pepper would be added. Certain innocent-looking, but highly spiced, sauces can surprise the unsuspecting palate. And a favorite tapa in many Spanish bars is pimientos de Padrón –a plate of fresh whole green peppers from the region of Galicia, which are quickly fried in olive oil, then sprinkled with coarse sea salt. As the bartender will warn you, “ Unos pican y otros non “–“some are hot and the others are not”–but until you bite into them, you don’t know which of those little green peppers is going to blow your taste buds away. Enjoy!
Sharon Hudgins is the author of an award-winning cookbook, Spain: The Cuisine, the Land, the People ( Spanien: Kuche, Land und Menschen , published by Hadecke Verlag in Germany , 1991). She has lived in Spain and has eaten her way through all 47 provinces on the Spanish mainland.
SOURCES OF SPANISH INGREDIENTS
(stores in Seattle, WA Santa Fe, NM Berkeley, CA and Mill Valley, CA online at www.spanishtable.com )
Spanish Spicy Olives ( Aceitunas Alinadas )
I recently ate these as a tapa at a cerveceria (beer tavern) in Barcelona, where they were a great accompaniment to mugs of Spanish beer, fresh from the barrel. Of course the saltiness makes you want to drink more beer–but what’s wrong with that?
1 pound Spanish green olives, unpitted
1/2 to 3/4 cup small pickled pearl onions
1/2 cup diced bottled roasted red Spanish peppers (mild) 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped pickled green peppers (Spanish pickled green guindillas or Italian pepperoncini )
1 tablespoon pickled capers
1 tablespoon Spanish olive oil
1/2 teaspoon hot Spanish paprika (smoked or unsmoked)
First, under warm running water, rinse the olives, pearl onions, pickled green peppers, and pickled peppers to reduce their saltiness. Drain them thoroughly.
Combine all the ingredients in a medium-size bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, to let the flavors meld. Serve at room temperature, as a tapa to accompany dry Spanish sherry, white or red Spanish wine, or Spanish beer.
Heat Scale: Mild to medium
( Tostadas de Nutella y Chorizo )
This surprising appetizer was created by Jason Dady, chef at The Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills in San Antonio, Texas and Bin 555 Restaurant and Wine Bar in Dallas and San Antonio. Dady combined New World flavors of chiles, chocolate and vanilla with Spanish olive oil and traditional Spanish chorizo pork sausages (flavored with Spanish paprika) to make an appetizer that appeals to the child in every adult. The combination of chocolate and chiles is reminiscent of traditional Mexican mole poblano .
Country-style French bread, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices
Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread
Vanilla-bean-flavored sea salt (see NOTE), or unflavored sea salt
Spanish hard chorizo sausage (not Mexican soft chorizo sausage), cut crosswise into 1/8- inch-thick slices
Toast the bread slices on both sides and let them cool. Lightly brush one side of each bread slice with olive oil, then spread a thin layer of Nutella on top (like spreading mayonnaise on sandwich bread). Sprinkle a small amount (a pinch or two) of sea salt evenly over the Nutella, then place two or three slices of Spanish chorizo in a single layer on top. Serve at room temperature, as an appetizer or snack, accompanied by a robust Spanish red wine from the Rioja region.
NOTE: Make vanilla-scented sea salt by finely crushing a vanilla bean and combining it with sea salt (preferably fleur de sel ) in a tightly covered glass container. Let the mixture stand for several days, at room temperature, for the flavors to meld.
Andalusian Baked Eggs, Flamenco-Style
This recipe comes from Sevilla, a city famous for its flamenco music–and the dish is as colorful (and saucy) as a female flamenco dancer. In Spain, it’s traditionally cooked and served in little individual earthenware casseroles. The garnishes on top of the eggs can be varied to use up any bits and pieces of leftover meats and vegetables in your kitchen.
6 tablespoons Spanish olive oil (plus oil for the casseroles)
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups diced cooked ham (divided use)
1 tablespoon mild/sweet Spanish paprika (smoked or unsmoked)
6 large tomatoes (fresh or canned), peeled, seeded, and chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
12 cooked green asparagus stalks
2 whole canned Spanish pimientos, cut lengthwise into 12 strips
6 cooked artichoke hearts, cut into halves or quarters
12 slices hard Spanish chorizo sausage (not soft Mexican chorizo)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly oil the insides of six 1-1/2-cup individual shallow earthenware casseroles or ovenproof ramekins.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, and saute the onion, garlic, and half the diced ham until the onion is soft. Sprinkle in the paprika and cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Immediately stir in the tomatoes and chicken stock. Cook uncovered over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced and the sauce is thick. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Divide the sauce among the 6 casseroles, spreading it in an even layer. Carefully break 2 eggs over the sauce in each casserole. Arrange the asparagus, pimiento strips, artichoke hearts, chorizo slices, green peas, and remaining half of the diced ham decoratively around and over the raw eggs in each casserole. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
Bake the casseroles in the preheated oven for about 8 to 10 minutes, until the egg whites have set but the yolks are still runny. Serve immediately, as a first course or as the main dish of a light meal, accompanied by a crisp green salad dressed with Spanish olive oil and coarse salt.
Spanish Garlic Soup ( Sopa de Ajo )
This peasant soup is popular throughout Spain where it’s known by many names, including simple sopa de ajo (garlic soup), sopa castellana (Castillian soup), and sopa de ajo leonesa (garlic soup from Leon). Sometimes the egg is stirred into the soup, like Chinese egg-drop soup, instead of baked on top–or even omitted entirely. The use of ham is also optional, but personally I think it adds another deeply Spanish layer of flavor.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and fry the bread slices in it, cooking them on both sides. Put 1 slice of fried bread into each of 4 ovenproof soup bowls. (In Spain, this soup is often served in straight-sided earthenware bowls, glazed only on the inside.) Heat the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the garlic is soft but not browned. Add the diced ham and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the paprika. Mix well. Place the pan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Do not let the paprika burn! Immediately add the chicken stock (or water) and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt if desired. Place the soup bowls on a baking sheet. Pour the hot soup over the bread in each bowl. Break 1 egg onto a saucer, and slide the raw egg carefully onto the top of the soup in 1 bowl. Repeat for each of the remaining bowls. Put the baking sheet with the soup bowls into the hot oven for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the eggs have baked and set. (Usually this dish is baked only until the whites have set and the yolk is hot, but still a bit runny.) Serve hot.
Zarzuela ( sarsuela in the Catalan language) is a musical term for a type of Spanish operetta–a colorful, witty mixture of song, dance, and theater. The same term is also used for this colorful, flavorful Catalan dish that combines several types of seafood with sweet red peppers and almonds.
1/8 teaspoon finely crumbled saffron threads
1 tablespoon Spanish sherry
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
4 to 5 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped Spanish jamon serrano (dry-cured raw ham)
1 tablespoon mild/sweet Spanish paprika (unsmoked)
1 tablespoon hot Spanish paprika (unsmoked)
1/2 cup blanched almonds ground in a nut grinder or blender
6 medium tomatoes (fresh or canned), coarsely chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded, deveined, and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
1 bay leaf, finely crumbled
1-1/2 pounds fish filets (sole, turbot, perch or red snapper), cut into 2-inch chunks
1 pound whole shrimp, in the shell, washed and drained
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Mix the crumbled saffron threads with the sherry in a small bowl, and set aside for them to steep while you assemble the rest of the dish.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large (4-quart) heavy-bottomed stovetop casserole. When the oil is hot, sautÃ© the chopped onions until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and ham and sauté them with the onions until the onions are very soft. Sprinkle the paprika over this mixture, stir well, and cook over very low heat, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add the ground almonds and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, red bell peppers, bay leaf, and saffron with the sherry it steeped in. Increase the heat to medium and let the mixture cook uncovered for 5 minutes.
Stir in the white wine and lemon juice. Add the pieces of fish. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Add the unpeeled shrimp, stir gently to combine with the other ingredients, and simmer for another 3 to 4 minutes (maximum–otherwise the shrimp will be tough). Serve immediately, in shallow soup bowls, garnished with chopped fresh parsley and lemon wedges. Or serve on plates with plain boiled rice and a green salad on the side. Dry white Catalan wine goes especially well with this dish.
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A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE IBERIAN PENINSULA
Spain and Portugal are two of the oldest countries in Europe, having been continuously settled since prehistoric times. In fact, the El Castillo cave– one of the most beautiful painted caves in Europe– is located in Cantabria, in northern Spain. The cave offers archaeological evidence that the Iberian Peninsula has been settled for over 40,000 years.
Over the centuries, local tribes mixed with Celts, Phoenicians, Greeks, and Carthaginians before the entire Iberian Peninsula was conquered by the Romans, becoming the Roman provinces of Iberia and Lusitania. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the area was invaded by the Swabians and Vandals, Germanic tribes that established kingdoms in the North and South of the peninsula, respectively.
These regions were later reunited under the rule of another Germanic population, the Visigoths. The Visigoths ruled over the peninsula for over 200 years, until a great force came sweeping up from the south. The Moorish armies ultimately conquered almost the entire peninsula, with the exception of the northwestern corner.
Spain and Portugal remained under Islamic rule for several centuries. The majority of the peninsula was slowly conquered again by Christian rulers in the 13th century, with the exception of the territory around the city of Cordoba, which didn’t surrender to Christian rule until 1492. The period of Islamic rule is also known as the Reconquista, in reference to the continuous attempts by Christian kings to bring the Peninsula back under Christian rule.
The Islamic period in Spain saw the development of arts, philosophy, and culture, especially in the southern part of the country, where the Islamic rule survived the longest. At the time, the Iberian peninsula was known in Arabic as “Al-Andalus,” which was the root for the name of Andalusia, the region on the southern coast of Spain.
After the end of Islamic rule, Spain and Portugal gradually became two separate entities. The first king of Portugal was Afonso I, who conquered the country, took it from the Muslims and secured its independence from Spain in the 12th century. Spain became united three centuries later with the marriage of Isabella of Castille and Fernando of Aragon, the two main Christian kingdoms in the country.
Another time that greatly shaped the history of Spain and Portugal is the Age of Discoveries when ships sailed from ports in the two countries bound for the Americas and ended up establishing vast colonial empires. Exploitation of indigenous people and resources filled the coffers of the Spanish and Portuguese courts for centuries until eventually, the colonies declared independence one after the other throughout the 19th century, and the empires came to an end.
During the 20th century, both countries became republics and were ruled by right-wing dictators for decades – Salazar in Portugal, and Franco in Spain. Dictatorship in Portugal came to an end in 1974 with the Carnation Revolution, while Spain had to wait for Franco’s death in 1980 for democracy to be restored.
Riñones al Jerez (kidneys in sherry sauce)
- 500 g beef / lamb / veal kidney, soaked in 500 ml salted water for two hours, cut into thin slices
- 175 ml dry sherry
- 150 g onion, chopped small
- 30 ml olive oil / 30 g butter
- 1 tbsp parsley
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed, finely chopped
- 5 g black pepper
- Salt, large pinch
Sauté onion in the oil over a low heat for 30 minutes until golden brown. Add garlic, increase heat and fry for a couple of minutes. Add kidneys, brown gently. Add the sherry, simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley.