Honestly, I hadn’t heard from fideuà until I came to live in Catalonia, where I first had it and instantly loved it! Fideuà is a sort of paella’s cousin but made with noodles instead of rice. As it happens with paella, there are endless recipes and variants and it’s also original from Valencia, but eaten all along the Spanish Mediterranean coast and definitely a Sunday and festive staple dish in Catalonia.
You’ll find vegetable, meat, chicken fideuà, but the most traditional is the seafood fideuà. Besides the seafood, the famous “fumet” (fish stock) and noodles are the basic ingredients. In Spain you can find fideuà noodles in any supermarket, but any short thin kind of hard wheat noodle will do the trick. In the image bellow you’ll find the two most common kind of fideuà noodles. I prefer the thinner ones.
Calderetas are a kind of traditional stew all around Spain, originally cooked with local ingredients: red meat inland or fish and seafood in the coasts along with in-season vegetables.
Fish caldereta is another delicious dish from Northern Spain, within the “Atlantic Diet” I first introduced in the Piperrada recipe. Of humble origin, the legend tells that it was traditionally prepared by fishermen on board of fisher vessels with whatever fish they had available, specially those that wouldn’t make the cut for sale and some other basic ingredients, generally potatoes. Although nowadays it can also be found in fancy restaurants, cooked with expensive fish and seafood, it remains as a healthy, affordable and every-day option in many Spanish households.
Known as caldeirada in Galicia, caldereta or calderada in Asturias and Cantabria, marmitako in Basque Country (prepared with bonito), it is also a typical dish in Portugal. There are as many recipes as towns along the Cantabrian and Atlantic Spanish coast. Today I’m sharing my approach; simple and yet delicious, the trademark combination of Spanish Cuisine.
I recently discovered today’s recipe in the short trip we took to the Basque Country with my parents while they were here on holidays. We visited some locations both in the Spanish and the French sides and Piperrada (or Piperade in French) is cooked all over. It is basically a pepper and tomatoes stir fry, from the family of Spanish Pisto, Catalan Samfaina and French Ratatouille but with peppers as the base vegetable.
In spite of how wonderful and delicious Mediterranean cuisine is, is fair to point out that some of the best food of Spain is produced and created in the Basque Country within the less known but also fabulous Atlantic Diet. In fact, along with Catalonia, Basque Country concentrates the majority of chefs and restaurants holding Michelin stars. But there’s no need to visit a Michelin star restaurant to eat delicious food, it is served everywhere, and we indeed enjoy it!
Once in the French side, we re-visited a little restaurant in Bayonne in which we had eaten really well the first time: Auberge du Petite Bayonne; everything was certainly as good as we recall. If you happen to go, just remember to make a reservation because it is usually crowded, since not only the food, but the prices are very attractive and the staff is very friendly!
I took some pictures of the menu we had consisting of: Squid cassolette and Piperade (today’s recipe) with eggs and Bayonne ham (designation of origin, totally worth trying) as an entrée; lamb txilindrón (tomato and pepper sauce typical from Basque Country) and duck tournedos with mushroom sauce (yummy!) as a main dish. Finally, we had the marquise au chocolat as a dessert that was to die for! There is also a picture of how great an ordinary breakfast can be in a French cafeteria (that is, of course, if you enjoy croissants and bread with salted butter!).
I can say now that summer is officially here, the typical extreme high temperatures and sunny days in the Mediterranean “Costa Dorada” ,where I live, have arrived unusually later this year, but they finally did and I guess they’re going to last at least a couple of months. I understand that people who are here on holidays enjoy it and it is indeed the perfect beach weather!
Personally, I really hate the heat, summer is not my favourite time of the year at all. My skin is very sensitive to the sunlight and I’m heatstroke prone. However, it doesn’t mean I can’t find ways to enjoy it! A nice terrace at the seaside, under the shade is perfect to gather with friends while having fresh beverages and food. In fact, I love the opportunity to change menus and recipes according to the seasonal produce and fresh vegetables are at their best in summertime. And there is no better way to celebrate veggies freshness than a good gazpacho!
I think gazpacho is one of the most brilliant Spanish recipes, is the perfect refreshing and healthy meal! It is also very friendly to any kind of diet need or choice: is vegan, raw, gluten-free, dairy-free and low carb. Besides, it has a very high water and fibre content and it’s packed with vitamins and antioxidants. It can be a snack, an entrée or a main dish if adding the right toppings to it, just be creative!
Just a word of warning: If you’re looking for a gluten-free gazpacho, beware if you’re not making your own, because there are versions that use some bread on it!
Today I’m sharing the classic recipe, you’ll see how quick and easy is to prepare and to customise!
At last, a Spanish recipe! It was about time I publish one; a while ago a dear friend of mine that took a look at the blog told me precisely that, not a single Spanish recipe! I know, I know, Spanish cuisine is sooo good that is unbelievable that it took me this long, but here we are and with nothing less than a paella!
Paella refers both the dish and the pan where it is cooked (the same case as tagine). Since paella is usually prepared for family and friends gatherings, the pan is very shallow but big in diameter and it has two handles. As an example, a great seafood paella a good friend of mine invited me in Gandía (Valencia) during one of my first years in Spain.
The dish is original from Valencia, although is cooked all across the country and beyond, I think is one of the most international Spanish dishes. The most popular one is probably the seafood paella, however, some purists claim that the real one is the chicken and rabbit paella, with vegetables from the legendary Valencia vegetable patches (l’horta Valenciana).
The thing is that there are as many variants and recipes of paella as region and families in Spain. Each one has its own way of preparing it, little secrets, tricks and rituals around it.
Before getting into the recipe I like to share some important tricks I’ve collected from all my Spanish friends:
Always have a very good quality stock ready (an excellent fish stock for the seafood paella is mandatory) and keep extra stock warm in case you need to add more during the cooking
The rice used for paella is a round, short-grain and high-starch variety called “bomba” if you can’t find it, Arborio makes a good substitute.
Once you have added the rice and the stock to the pan, the rice should no longer be stirred or mixed throughout the rest of the cooking process.
Because of the latter, the heat has to get uniformly to the full pan base, otherwise the rice in the centre will be overcooked by the time the rice on the sides is done. Use a pan that matches exactly one of your stove burners.
The rice stuck at the bottom of the pan is called “socarrat” and it is supposed to be this way, many people (including myself) like to scratch it and eat it at the end of the meal!
Today I’m sharing a very unorthodox chicken and artichokes paella that turned out delicious! As I don’t have a paella, I used a regular frying pan. Take into account that paella is more about the method of cooking the rice than about the ingredients themselves. Once you have mastered it, you can be as creative as you want!
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