and geography have intertwined to create one of the most... in the world.

History and geography have intertwined to create one of the most varied and rewarding cuisines
in the world.
Located in southwestern Europe, Spain is the third largest European country. It controls the
crossroads between two seas -- the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. It is exceptionally
mountainous and climatically it is much drier than the rest of Europe. The landscape ranges
from arid mountain pasture to lush orchards and meadows, from magnificent coasts to rural or
sophisticated towns
It's history began with Phoenician, Greek, and Carthaginian coastal settlements. Later the
Romans, and more importantly the Moors, brought with them elements of their own cooking
which lingered and blended with Spain's culinary heritage. Imports from the New World included
the tomato, potato, sweet potato, vanilla, chocolate, many varieties of beans, zucchini, and the
pepper tribe. There are olives in profusion, vineyards and citrus fruit. Spaniards are very fond of
garlic, they love all types of sweet and hot peppers and their beloved jamon serrano -- cured
ham. The golden spice saffron enhances many Spanish foods, paella in particular. Spain's most
famous wine -- sherry, both dry and sweet -- flavors entrees and desserts
Cuisine in the Iberian peninsula echoes the cooking of the Middle East (honey and cumin) and
that of the Americas (dishes combining meat with chocolate). Yet, essentially, it is family
cooking, comparatively simple to prepare and characterized by fresh ingredients. Besides meat,
poultry, game, and fish entrees, there are a wealth of dishes featuring beans, rice, eggs,
vegetables, and savory pies that make a meal. Tapas -- small morsels or appetizers in great
variety -- play a role in meals throughout the day.
Spanish life-style is vastly different from Americans'. A typical dining pattern involves a light
breakfast at 8 a.m.; a mid-morning breakfast at 11 a.m.; tapas at 1 p.m. with a three-course
lunch following at 2 to 3 p.m.; a merienda for tea and pastries or a snack at 5 to 6 p.m.; evening
tapas at 8 p.m. or later, and a three-course supper at 10 p.m. The two main meals of the day -la comida (lunch) and la cena (dinner) are no less opulent because of in-between snacks.
While eating habits and hours are more or less uniform throughout Spain, the cooking can be
quite different. Spain is sharply divided by regions, each with its own culinary traditions and
dialects. The northwestern area, Galicia, prominently displays its ancient Celtic heritage. Meat
and fish pies are found here along with famed scallops and fine veal. Farther east along the
coast, Asturias is known for its legendary bean dish, fabada, and a strong blue cheese, queso
Cabrales. Hard cider is preferred as a drink. The Basque country features fish dishes
principally, such as fish soup, garlicky baby eels, squid, and a variety of dried cod dishes.
Cataluna is considered the most gastronomically distinctive and exciting region of Spain.
Catalan cuisine is inventive with fish, such as mixed seafood zarzuela, meats or poultry, which
are typically combined with local fruits. Valencia is a region of tidal flatlands and rice is prepared
here in endless styles on a daily basis. Paella is the region's most famous dish. Andalucia to the
south is a parched and arid region, best suited to grape vines and olive trees. Gazpacho is
native to this area.
Smashed Spanish Cooking Class Recipes
A Glossary of Cooking Terms and Ingredients
The tapa tradition is as important for the conversation and company as for the delicious food.
Every Spaniard has his favorite tasca, as the tapa bars are called, where he goes regularly to
meet his friends or business acquaintances. Tapas will be found in even the smallest bar in a
tiny village. The word tapa, meaning cover or lid, is thought to have originally referred to the
complimentary plate of appetizers that many tascas, would place like a cover on one's wine
glass. Tapas can vary from simple to complex and include cheese, fish, eggs, vegetable dishes,
dips, canapes, and savory pastries. A quantity of tapas can make an excellent meal.
Olive oil is indispensable in preparing many of the recipes. Chorizo is the best-loved Spanish
sausage and blood sausage is also popular throughout Spain. Vegetables are not overly
favored, except for potatoes, which often come fried with an entree. Salads are served as first
courses and are invariably offered undressed, accompanied by cruets of oil and vinegar.
Fish and bean soups can make a meal. Paellas provide colorful and festive dishes for a crowd.
A beachside cafe is the place to find fine shellfish and tackle a tray of unshelled ultra-fresh
crustaceans. Game birds have wide appeal in Spain. Baby lamb and pig have reached cult
status and are often prepared in a woodburning oven with thyme, rosemary or oak for
The Arabs and Moors left their influence in dessert making, introducing almonds, egg yolks, and
honey. Orange and lemon zest also play a role in flavoring sweets. Ground almonds often
replace flour in cake baking and beaten egg whites are invariably the leavening agent in cakes.
Smashed Spanish Cooking Class Recipes
makes 8 servings
2 bottles (4/5 quart each) dry red wine
2 bottles (10 ounces each) bitter lemon soda
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
Sugar to taste
Ice cubes
Mint sprigs
Combine the wine, bitter lemon, and sliced orange and lemon in a
large pitcher. Add sugar. Chill. To serve, pour over ice cubes in
glasses and garnish with mint.
Serve a selection of little morsels: shrimp, white albacore tuna, roasted red peppers, green
olives, chunks of sweet French bread, anchovies; green onion, spinach, or potato fritatta.
Potato Omelet (Tortilla Española)
makes 4 servings
1/3 cup olive oil
4 large potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick
Coarse salt
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 eggs
Heat three tablespoons of the oil in a 9-inch non-stick skillet and add the potato slices and
onions, salting lightly. Cook slowly, lifting and turning occasionally, until tender but not brown.
Beat the eggs, add the potatoes and let sit a few minutes. Add the remaining oil to the skillet,
Smashed Spanish Cooking Class Recipes
heat until very hot, and add the potato and egg mixture, spreading it with a pancake turner.
Lower heat to medium, shake pan to keep potatoes from sticking, and when brown underneath,
place a plate on top and invert, then slide back into the skillet and brown the other side.
Gazpacho Andalusian
makes 8 servings
1 large cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 sweet white onion, coarsely chopped
6 large tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 or 5 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (10-1/2 ounces) condensed beef broth
3 tablespoons each white wine vinegar and olive oil
2 slices sourdough French bread
1 small carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
Condiments: chopped green onions, croutons, diced avocado
Place the cucumber, onion, tomatoes, garlic, broth, vinegar, oil, bread, and carrot in a blender
and blend until almost smooth. (Prepare in two batches if necessary.) Thin to desired
consistency with water and season with salt and pepper. Chill. Serve in bowls, passing
condiments to be spooned into the soup.
Rice with Shellfish (Paella con Molluscs)
makes 8 servings
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large tomato, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1-1/2 cups long-grain white rice
1/2 teaspoon saffron
1 bottle (8 oz.) clam juice
1 1/2 cups hot water
1/2 cup dry white wine
16 large prawns, unshelled
16 small butter, rock or steamer clams, unshucked
1 crab, cooked and cracked or 8 very small lobster tails, cooked
1 package (10 ounces) frozen tiny peas, blanched for two minutes in boiling water
1/2 pound baby asparagus, parboiled (optional)
1 jar (2 ounces) sliced pimiento
Lemon wedges
In a large frying pan or four-quart casserole, saut! onion, garlic, and tomato in oil until
vegetables are glazed. Add the rice, saffron, clam juice, water, and wine. Cover and simmer for
20 minutes. Arrange prawns and clams on top, cover and steam until the clam shells open.
Transfer to a large paella pan or serving casserole. Add the crab, peas, asparagus, and
pimiento. Heat through or keep warm in a low oven until serving time. Garnish with lemon
Smashed Spanish Cooking Class Recipes
Chicken Paella
makes 4 to 6 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 pound broiler-fryer, cut in pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 green or red pepper, seeded and chopped
3 tomatoes, diced
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup rice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoon salt
Pinch saffron
3/4 cup cooked tiny peas
1 pimiento, cut into strips
In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon oil and brown the chicken well on all sides. Remove from
pan and add the garlic, onion, and pepper and saut! until the onion is golden. Return the
chicken to the skillet, add remaining oil, and saut! for 15 minutes. Add tomatoes and broth,
bring to a boil. Add rice and seasonings. Cover and simmer over low heat until the chicken and
rice are tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Garnish with peas and pimiento.
makes about 8 servings
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups milk
6 eggs
2 egg yolks
Zest of 1 lemon
In a saucepan, heat 1/2 cup of the sugar over moderate heat, shaking the pan frequently, until
the sugar melts and turns amber. Pour at once into a 1-1/2 quart ring mold and quickly tilt the
mold in all directions to coat the bottom and sides evenly. Heat the milk, but do not boil. Beat
together the eggs and egg yolks just until blended, then beat in the remaining sugar and vanilla.
Gradually stir in the hot milk. Pour the mixture into the caramel-lined mold and place in a pan of
hot water. Bake in a preheated 325¡F oven for one hour or until a knife inserted comes out
clean. Let the custard cool, then chill it. To serve, run a knife around the sides of the mold to
loosen the custard. Place a large round platter over the mold and quickly invert; lift off the mold.
Smashed Spanish Cooking Class Recipes
Ideally, the wines of Spain are the best accompaniments to the regional dishes. Rioja wines
from north-central Spain are considered premium in quality. Another area that makes top-notch
wines is Penedes, near Barcelona. All regions, however, have vines under cultivation.
The making of wine in Spain dates back over 2000 years, but the production of quality wines is
a more recent development, dating back to the last century. Enterprising Frenchman came to
Spain to renew their wine production when Phylloxera hit the French vineyards. They found
these areas met their requirements and as the French prospered, the Spanish learned new
wine-making techniques.
Climate and grape variety are two of the components that make Rioja wines unique. The third is
the laborious process of barrel aging, and the wines spend many years in bottles in the bodegas
before being released for sale.
A third region is Valladolid, where Vega Scilia produces the most expensive Spanish wine on
the market today.
Sherry takes its name from its place of origin, Jerez, in southwest Spain. Its history goes back
thousands of years, when Phoenician settlers introduced grape vines to the area. Only Jerez
has all the optimum conditions for sherry production with the complex interplay of air, sun, soil,
aging and tradition.
Sherries are blended and fortified wines and fall into several styles: Fino -- very dry or dry;
Manzanilla -- very dry; Amontillado -- medium dry; Oloroso -- medium sweet; and Cream -sweet.
Spanish brandies made by the French Cognac process are of exceptionally fine quality. Most
come from Jerez, although the Torres company in Cataluna is producing excellent ones for
Sparkling Spanish wines are also made by French methods, developed in Champagne.
Codorniu is the top name in the field; another firm, Freixenet, is widely distributed.
We hope you enjoyed our cooking class and continue to experience the
delicious spanish cuisine back home!
See you soon in Barcelona… -
Smashed Spanish Cooking Class Recipes