It is challenging to conclude that there is a single National Dish of Spain because each region in the country has its unique delicacies.
Spain used to be divided into small kingdoms, each with its language, way of life, and food.
Spain continues to be divided into 17 autonomous regions, each having a distinctive local cuisine.
However, there are certain typical Spanish dishes regarded as Spain’s national dishes that have become increasingly popular domestically and in other countries.
1. The National Dish Of Spain: Paella Valenciana / Seafood Paella
Paella Valenciana or Seafood Paella is one of the most iconic Spanish food and can be termed the national dish of Spain.
It is known to have its roots in a Valencia region where locals cooked Paella, the rice dish prepared with rabbit, snails, and vegetables before cooking it over an open fire.
This dish is usually served as a lunchtime meal. The word “paella,” which means “pan,” is thought to have its origins in the Valencian language.
Its name alludes to the dish it is made in: a large but shallow pan. It has developed into the most famous Spanish food, and different types of meat, chicken, fish, and shellfish can be used in it.
No paella de marisco, regardless of the addition of protein, would be complete without the meal’s signature flavour of saffron, which also gives the dish its orange colour.
The eagerly anticipated moment of reward is the meal that arrives after several hours of careful preparation.
A decent paella should not be deeper than “un ditet,” or “a little finger,” according to Valencians who claim this indicates a good paella.
The rice grains in touch with the pan surface have the most taste because the stock tends to run to the pan’s bottom.
In fact, the Socarrat, which refers to the bottom layer of cooked rice in a paella, is the dish’s most prized component.
As the meal nears the completion of cooking, increase the heat beneath the pan until you can smell the rice starting to toast and hear it starting to crackle. This will give the rice the slight crispiness it needs to earn its name.
2. Recipe of Paella Valenciana
The ingredients and step to step recipe to make this dish is mentioned below.
- One tablespoon of olive oil
- Three/Four pounds peeled and get rid of large shrimp
- Three/Four teaspoon salt,
- One/Four teaspoons freshly ground black pepper,
- Half a cup of very thinly sliced chorizo sausage (about 2 ounces)
- Two (2-ounce) chicken thighs without bone and skin
- One cup chopped onion
- Three garlic cloves, minced
- Half cup chopped tomatoes
- One tablespoon of capers, drained
- One-fourth teaspoon of saffron threads
- One cup of Arborio rice or any other different choice of short-grain rice
- Two third cup white wine
- One (14-ounce) can of fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- Half cup froze green peas
- One-fourth cup of water
- About three four-pound, scrubbed and debearded mussels
- Two and a half tablespoons chopped bottled and roasted red bell pepper
- Two tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Step 1: Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan. Add shrimp to the cooking pan and let cook for four minutes, or until done.
In a small-medium bowl, add the shrimp. Cook the chorizo in the pan for one minute, or until it has turned brown. Add chorizo to the bowl.
Step 2: Add the one-eighth teaspoon of black pepper which is remaining and one-fourth teaspoon of salt to the chicken.
Add the onion and required garlic to the cooking pan and cook, stirring constantly, for two minutes or until tender. Cook for one minute after adding the tomato, capers, and saffron.
Add the remaining one-fourth teaspoon of salt, the rice, also wine, and broth and bring to a boil.
Step 3: To the pan, add the shrimp mixture, peas, one-fourth cup water, and the mussels.
Discard any unopened shells after cooking the mussels for 8 minutes with the lid on over medium heat.
Add bell pepper and cilantro after removing from the heat. Wait for three minutes.
The authentic paella is ready to eat.
3. Top 6 Traditional Spanish Dishes
Some of the famous Spanish dishes that you should definitely check out are mentioned here.
3.1. Tortilla De Patatas
It is made from sliced potatoes and chopped onions that are sauteed in olive oil before being combined with beaten eggs and baked to create a firm potato omelette (similar to what the Italians call a frittata).
The similarities with the typical Latin American flatbread end there, despite the namesake.
Now, this staple of the normal Spanish diet is referred to as Tortilla Espanola or the Spanish omelette and is consumed all over the world.
3.2. Jamon Serrano
Although Spanish ham is consumed all over Spain and is a renowned gourmet traditional Spanish food, many regions of the country are known for producing it.
Spain is the largest producer of air-dried cured ham in the world and also its major consumer. Jamón Serrano is a traditional and regional pork-based cured country ham.
In the Spanish mountains, people have been curing fresh hams by hanging them from their rafters since the beginning of time.
The jamons can take a year to 18 months to develop. With a glass of Spanish wine, these hams are presented in rounds that resemble paper and are thinly sliced.
They can also be used in various dishes, such as croquetas de jamón or sautéed vegetables, without the need for cooking.
3.3. Pan Con Tomate
The most modest tapas dish is a pan with tomate. It has just five ingredients—bread, tomato, olive oil, garlic, and salt—and almost little actual cooking is required. Despite its simplicity and restraint, though, this dish is the ideal way to end the summer.
It is often served as something like an appetiser at gatherings or pair it with a robust salad for a quick supper. It only takes a few minutes and indicates how high-quality the ingredients are.
Pan con tomate’s original name, pa amb tomàquet, is Catalan, not Spanish (bread with tomato).
3.4. Chorizo Sausage
Chorizo is far more prevalent in Spanish households and is used more frequently in everyday cooking, despite not being as highly valued as Iberian ham.
It adds a deep depth of flavour, smokiness, and colour to foods when cooked in stews with meat, potatoes, and other vegetables.
Classic Spanish classics that highlight the versatility of chorizo are patatas a la Riojana and chorizo a la sidra.
The drier variation is offered as a tapas item or a snack in a sandwich together with other cured meats. Although you might be able to find it fresh, chorizo is a type of pork sausage that is typically cured.
It is prepared of finely chopped pork that has been marinated in a mixture of spices, including paprika, to give it the chorizo’s well-known taste and colour.
3.5. Churros Con Chocolate
Churros con Chocolate is a traditional Spanish popular dessert.
More than dessert, it is a sweet treat prepared with choux pastry-style dough, piped with a star-shaped nozzle into long, straight or curved fingers, cooked in oil, and dusted with a cinnamon-sugar mixture before being served.
Churros are sold on the street by sellers, who may fry them fresh and they are served hot. But Granada-based Spaniards will disagree; to them, churros are spongy and fat; elsewhere in Spain, these fat churros are called Porras.
Churros are typically consumed as a wintertime snack or occasionally for breakfast and are best enjoyed dipped in very thick hot chocolate.
3.6. Patatas Bravas
Tapas originated in southern Spain and the most famous tapa in Spain’s cuisine is patatas bravas, which is made of crispy fried potatoes and is served with bravas sauce or salsa brava or tomato sauce.
The sauce is truly what sets these potatoes apart from other fried potatoes you’ll taste. It gives them their deliciously little smokey and spicy flavour.
While many people think the recipes for patatas bravas originated in Barcelona, they come from Madrid.
It is doubtful that you will come across a tapas bar not serving patatas bravas on their tapas menus anywhere in Spain. To temper the heat a little, some people may serve the bravas sauce in addition to a garlic alioli or allioli (similar to aioli).
However, this dish is always served with the ideal red salsa brava in Madrid’s traditional original recipe.
Many things can be credited to Spanish cuisine, which is based on the Mediterranean diet and is considered an Intangible Cultural Heritage by Unesco.
Traditional Spanish cuisine is simple, down-to-earth food that is based on the ingredients that are found nearby or the crops that are cultivated in the vicinity. Olive oil and garlic are the two staple components in Spanish cuisine, specifically in the National Dish of Spain.
In fact, the only two components that are typically utilised uniformly across the country are garlic and olive oil.
Regional cuisine in Spain is highly different as the country is divided into numerous geographical regions. They involve various ethnic and cultural groups because local weather varies from province to province.