Spanish Inspiration


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My husband with our lovely guide on the Foodie Tour of Barcelona.

We highly recommend food tours wherever you visit!



This past April, my husband and I went to Spain for a much-anticipated vacation. It was all so beautiful that I wanted to capture every moment with a photo. My husband rolled his eyes when I pulled out the camera, but later on he couldn't wait to see the pictures, even the food photos. As we looked through them, we were not only reminded of the sights we saw and the facts we learned, but also of the scents and flavors we experienced.

Food has a way of expanding our understanding of any foreign country we visit. We even learn some of the language by reading menus and asking questions. As people explain certain dishes and tell us their favorites, we begin to appreciate the pride of home, family, and culture that they evoke. 


We discover that we're more alike than different. We all experience connection, satisfaction, and pleasure in the simple act of sharing a meal. We exchange Proustian memories that these moments arouse. We open our mouths to receive a tempting morsel, while opening our hearts to one another.

Our time in Spain was no exception. We came home filled with a deeper knowledge of the country’s history, the Catalonian story, and Barcelona’s role in it all. The names of new friends we met along the way have been added to our address book. And of course, I tucked away new ideas for recipes, which will help me prolong my holiday memories. 


In fact, I’ve already started to incorporate some new recipes into my repertoire. Our first and most important foodie discovery was Pa’amb Tomàquet, or tomato bread as it is translated. It’s a staple that can be found on every menu and in any bar or restaurant. 


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According to Barcelona Turisme:


If you ask any Barcelona local to name the best Catalan invention of all time, nine out of ten will probably reply "el pa amb tomàquet!" (bread rubbed with tomato). More than a simple recipe, culinary technique or custom, the gesture of rubbing tomato on a piece of bread is a sign of Catalan identity.


Now I know how to give the appearance of being a real local the next time I’m in Barcelona! Here’s how you can do it:


Slice bread. If using focaccia, slice lengthwise in half, then across to form 2-inch-wide slices. If using a round rustic loaf, cut across into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Toast.


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Peel a clove of garlic and gently rub it across the toast. 


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Cut the small tomato in half across the middle (not stem end to bottom). Rub the cut side over the toast. 


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Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt over the toast. 


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If desired, serve with a dollop of aioli. At some restaurants, this was served on the side.


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Another favorite way to eat tomato bread is topped with one of the many cured meats of the region:


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Spain is known for its tapas, and we tried many of them. Some I hope to replicate, and others I won’t even try. Here are some pictures of our favorites:


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Burrata on Gazpacho with Tomato Bread



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Grilled Squid with Parsley



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Artichoke Hearts on Aioli with Paprika Olive Oil

(We also had fried artichoke hearts and grilled whole artichokes.)



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Toasts with Four Cheeses and Truffle Oil



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Matchstick Fried Potatoes with Fried Eggs and Paprika Oil



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Brave Potatoes

A very popular tapa made from boiled then fried potatoes with cheese melted on top, and some paprika oil drizzled over it of course!



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 Fried Octopus



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Fried Calamari with Aioli


And let’s not forget the simple dish of amazingly delicious olives, often served with chips:


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I haven’t even mentioned the salads yet (all were fresh, light, and delightful), the main dishes, and of course the heavenly desserts we sometimes ate as our dinner when we were too full from lunch to have anything else.


I hope to share some new Spanish recipes in the future, based on some of the above tapas, as well as dishes from the other categories. Stay tuned!



Reference:


http://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/en/enjoy/8/the-sacred-principles-of-pa-amb-tomaquet.html


© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™