Tag Archives: Spain

Broad Beans with Serrano Ham

Andalusia is the traditional home of the tapa and in certain bars a small plate of food will automatically be given with, or ‘placed on top of’, every drink purchased: originally, tapas were small slices of bread topped withSerrano ham, cheese or chorizoand were served to the sherry drinkers in Andalusian taverns; the reason, apparently, was to stop the fruit flies from invading their wine.

This was once a habitual practice in most of Andalusia but it isa tradition that has almost vanished like so many other idyllic Spanish customs:In today’s crisis stricken atmosphere however, the free tapa is making a come-back in order to attract much needed customers to some of the financially crippled bars and restaurants of Spain.

The tradition of the tapa is likely to have developed from the result of poverty and the high day-time temperatures; two issues that make the eating of a large meal impracticable.While the actualorigin of the tapa has numerous different explanations concerningwhere or why they originated,the term’tapa’is generally perceived to have come from the verb tapar, which means to cover.

Some believe the name originated around the middle of the 16th century when the owners of taverns found that the strong taste and smell of mature manchego cheese could help disguise the bad wine that they served; thus ‘covering’ it.

It is also said (although somewhat unconvincingly) that King Alfonso X of Castile was responsible for the introduction of the tapa: Alfonso was said to have recovered from an illness by drinking wine accompanied by small dishes of food and after regaining his health the king is reported to have ordered that taverns would not be permitted to sell wine unless it was accompanied by a small snack or ‘tapa’.

Another theory is attributed to Felipe III who is said to have passed a law in order to curb the drunken behavior of his soldiers; the law stated that in order to slow the effects of alcohol, every drink sold must be accompanied by a small plate of food.

The tapa reflects a very refined attitude towards eating and drinking because it extends lunch-time into a protracted eating experience that offers one the opportunity to taste an enormous variety of dishes.

Meat, fish, seafood and vegetables of all kinds will be used as tapas; as are pulses, rice and cured hams and sausages and the following recipe combines some of Spain’s most popular ingredients,including Serrano ham, broad beans and sherry.

The broad bean (haba) was used in ancient Egypt and are as old as the Pharaohs but the Greeks had reservations about them because they believed them to bring bad luck, whereas in Spain,and many South American countries, a broad bean is placed inside the Rosca de Reyes(kings cake) and the person who receives it has various privileges and obligations.

There are many varieties of broad bean but the best for this recipe would be the ‘habas finas’. These can be purchased frozen and are far easier to usethan the dried version – which require a lengthycooking process.Some versions of habas con jamon will call for thin slices of succulent Serrano ham, which will almost melt into the cooking juices of the dish, while others will use ham that has been diced; but be careful with the seasoning because the ham will normally suffice where salt is concerned.

This dish would be suitably accompanied by a chilled glass of crisp white wine like aBarbadillo; one of Spain’s bestselling wines. Made from the same Palomino grape that is used in Barbadillo sherry,this easy drinking, medium bodied wine comes from the bodegas Antonio Barbadillo, (founded in 1821) one of the largest operations in Sanlucar de Barrameda that is particularly associated with excellent manzanilla wine.

If one prefers sherry or manzanilla, then Barbadillo’s excellent Solearwould also make a good accompanying tipple because this extremely dry sherry has a characteristic salty tang that pairs well with this dish.

Both wines cost less than 5 Euros per bottle and the ingredients for habas con jamon will cost less than the wine; so tapas and manzanillafor four people will cost around ten Euros; Ole!

Ingredients
450grms habas finas (broad beans)
1 sprig fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
I medium onion chopped into small dice
2-3 cloves chopped garlic
150 grams diced Serrano ham
Extra virgin olive oil
Ten black pepper corns
½ teaspoon pimenton dulce (ground red pepper or paprika)
1 glass sherry
1 cup water
½ chicken stock-cube

Method

Gently saute the garlic, onion, pimenton dulce and peppercorns in the olive oil for two minutes and then add the chopped Serrano hamand continue cooking for a further one minute. Add the broad beans, thyme, and bay to the onion, and mix the ingredients thoroughly before adding the sherry, water andstock-cube. Cook for a further 20 minutes until the liquid has halved and the beans are tender.Check the seasoning and add a pinch of salt if necessary. Leave to stand for ten minutes; before serving with some crusty bread to mop up the delicious juices – Buenprovecho!

What is the Origin of Spanish Rice Recipes

nxhfjyfThose who love to eat rice and want to try and enjoy the variety, Spanish rice is quite a good choice for them. This dish is quite delicious and has a unique flavor. It is a complete meal for the entire family.

The basic constituent of this dish is white rice which is a staple food and is famous around the world. It is enriched with high protein, carbohydrate, vitamin D, calcium and iron.

Making this spanish recipe is quite simple as you just need to change some ingredients to make it an amazing dish. This is a very economical recipe and which is easy to make and is quite filling for the entire family. It goes great with everything from chicken to shrimp; or maybe just alone.

Let us discuss the origin of this spanish dish which is a family recipe. In Spain, rice is often served as a primary meal in their lunch or dinner however it does not grow there.

If you get a chance to visit any of the restaurants in Spain, you will get to know that lot many dishes like desserts are made from it such as paella or pudding. The reason behind its origin in Spain is said to be Moors who once ruled Spain and brought rice dishes to this country.

Once Moors left the country the Spanish people were so unwilling to give it up. Out of many rice side dishes one such was this Spanish dish which became very popular.

Along with some other main ingredients it is made up of parsley, garlic, onions, cilantro, tomatoes. The use of chicken broth or stock is common to many of the Spanish recipes. Under the influence of Hispanic people, it became very famous towards the southwest part of United States of America as they use lot of grilled vegetables. The other mostly used side dish is chicken fried rice which has a Chinese origin and is also very famous in United States.

It is also referred as Mexican rice in United States. Both Spanish and Mexican rice are totally different, cumin is used in Mexican one whereas saffron is used in Spanish one. This dish can also be cooked through Mexican style by the use of tomato and chili pepper which adds red-orange color to it. It is very well suited to be served with other Mexican cuisine dish. This mouthwatering dish can be served with seafood, chicken and beef.

I hope the reader of this article may enjoy reading the origin of Spanish fried rice and find this information quite useful.

Seafood Paella A Sumptuous Meal

Seafood paella is one of the most popular European rice dishes served during regular meals and special occasions. It has also conquered dining tables of other countries and cultures across the globe. Why not? The mixture of carbo-rich rice filled with meaty goodness of different seafood makes a perfect heavy delicious meal for family, friends, and guests to enjoy and feast on.

 

Actually, seafood paella is a variety of the original paella recipe, which originated in Spain. Paella, according to food historians, is a rice dish which is all the rage traditionally and popularly eaten on Sundays. The term paella was derived from the Latin word patella, which means frying pan. Obviously the dish is usually cooked in a big frying pan where food ingredients such as rice, vegetables, meat, and seafood are mixed together to come up with sumptuous meal. Paella should have the three main ingredients of rice, saffron, and olive oil. Complements such as chicken meat, olives, and shellfish are added since these are very abundant in Spain. The seafood paella recipe came about and flourished when meat was taken away from the recipe to appeal to strict vegetarians, who abhor eating livestock meat. Seafood paella also became more popular in the seafood industry and is considered the preferred diet of health-conscious individuals. Seafood contains a certain kind of fatty acid nutrient called the Omega3, which helps fight cancer and heart diseases. Seafood paella was also popular to countries or areas where seafood supply is abundant.

In case you wonder why paella is a preferred dish in huge get-togethers, it is because the dish is very easy and practical to serve and prepare. It is like having a banquet in one dish. With the carbo-rich and meaty ingredients, the dish is really a satisfyingly heavy meal.

One can look at a hundreds of seafood paella recipes in any cookbooks available in the bookstores. The Internet also offers a wide range of resources, which you can check or download free if you want a systematic guide on how to concoct the dish.

The seafood meat ingredients are stir-fried with an olive oil in a large but shallow flat frying pan first. The vegetables follow. Water is subsequently poured in until it boils. Rice is then added after the desired broth flavor is achieved. Some put salt to balance taste. Once the rice is cooked, the pan is removed from the heat and left to absorb the remaining water. It can be served immediately after being cooled for several minutes.