16 March 2011

Spanish Recipes

Discovering the art of Spanish cooking need not be a daunting task, Spanish cuisine by its very nature is both versatile and very simple. Spanish recipes let the flavours of the ingredients do the talking so when it comes to the simplest of tapas to the more in depth asado or other regional dishes then the slightest sprinkle of smoked paprika or addition of the humble olive an make all the difference. For the cook, Spanish cooking is the perfect way to get started and there is of course the complete tapas culture to learn and experiment with, after all cooking is about experimenting and blending flavours. We believe that pushing the boundries is a necessity!

Since 2005 we have been nurturing and adding to on a regular basis a bank of Spanish recipes. The list includes some of the more popular Spanish recipes such as paella, gambas al pil pil, bacalao fritters etc to the more unusual ideas which are normally offered by either Spanish neighbours, originally from Madrid and Barcelona or from the local bar owners in Orce and other surrounding villages.

It is worth saying at this point that the recipes on the Orce Serrano Hams website were originally designed to be a point of reference to the Spanish food enthusiast, a few authentic Spanish favourites bundled into one page… however as we kept cooking the list kept growing! After catching the Mediterranean cooking bug shortly after moving to Andalucia the recipe bank has grown into something of a passion which now has (at the time of writing) nearly 300 recipes published. Ideas are always forthcoming from the locals, the resident butcher or fishmonger which all makes for good cooking and the chance to make and publish the more unusual – something special from the butchers grandmother is always a real treat!

Many (if not most) of the ideas given use local produce, as a small village Orce is like its own little economy. You can quite often see bar owners visit the pescaderia, perhaps on a Tuesday or more commonly Friday to purchase a large bag of anchovies which will then be marinaded or fried for tapas over the weekend, or the restaurant owners buying the famous “Cordero Segureno” for a lunchtime special or “Menu del Dia”. There is no buying in fresh meats or fish or getting up at 3.00am to be the early bird at the traders market, this rural village just seems to manage with businesses supporting each other in what must seem an pre industrial environment to urban areas, the noticeable thing is – it works and it works very well.

Your Spanish recipes have been split up into categories:


Spanish vegetarian recipes may seem like an unusual category to have and indeed the list is shorter but with the likes of Catalan Calcots in Romesco salsa, char grilled escalivada, stuffed mushrooms, tortilla and poor man’s potatoes  to name but a few your Spanish veg section certainly deserves its own status.

The Spanish also love to cook outdoors, especially over the barbeque so if you are a fan of outdoor summer cooking there are plenty of ideas to browse through. You will also find emphasis on “rustic” cooking, in a what you see is what you get type of format many of the recipes on this website have been traditionally prepared over naked flame and adapted to being cooked over the open fire. One typical example would be “escalivada” (char grilled onions, pepper and tomato) a super recipe that is cooked on the fire then wrapped in newspaper before the vegetable are skinned, chopped and served with extra virgin olive oil either as a salad or side dish with barbequed meats – the bits of black are crucial to the rustic outdoor flavour!

Keep an eye on your recipe section over the coming months as new recipes are added on a regular basis, some of which are quite unique, others traditionally rustic and all with a great Spanish flavour!


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