The Food of Andalusia

The food of the south of Spain exemplifies the Mediterranean diet. Various types of seafood dominate the cuisine when it comes to the protein. This includes a lot of oily fish like tuna and anchovies. Pork and chicken come a distant second to seafood followed by beef which is not usually eaten. Vegetables, olive oil and legumes such as lentils, chickpeas and beans form other key building blocks of this cuisine.

The supermarkets are filled with a higher proportion of fundamental foods which form the building blocks for cooking a meal instead of pre-prepared, processed foods or meal shortcuts. This makes the Spanish diet very healthy.

Eating out is mainly about tapas. It’s about having a small plate to nibble on with a small drink. It is less about filling up with large meal than about connecting with friends and family. This too is very healthy as plenty of research shows that having meaningful connections in life is a key to a happy and healthy life.

The famous soup of Andalusia is the Salmorejo. This can be considered a cousin to the famous Spanish Gazpacho. Salmorejo is a cold, tomato based soup which also incudes bread and olive oil. Bread is not used as an ingredient in Gazpacho. Salmorejo has the same refreshing, cooling, tanginess similar to Gazpacho but is made creamier and more filling with the bread blended through. It’s a smart way to use up leftover bread. Ancestors of this soup can be traced back to the Roman Empire where a tomato-free version of this soup existed. The tomato was a much later addition once they were introduced to Spain.

Salmorejo – a traditional Andalusian tomato based soup which is eaten cold. This is very similar to Gazpacho except for the addition of bread. The addition of bread is smart, frugal cooking as it utilizes stale bread and bulks up the soup to make it more filling. These cartons are readily available in the supermarket and contains no weird ingredients so it is very healthy.

Another classic on the Iberian peninsula are the legs of ‘jamon’ or ham. In many restaurants, specialist shops and even in the local Aldi, there are legs of ham strung up. These vary in price but are usually quite expensive. They are delicately sliced into the thinnest layers and arranged carefully into plates for tapas or to be sold in smaller portions.

Jamon Iberico
Spinach and Chickpeas (Espinacas con Garbanzos) – a traditional dish from Seville. A healthy Mediterranean dish. (The other dish in the picture is a hearty Andalucian Lentil Stew).
Fried Anchovies – healthy, oily fish.
Paella and Salmorejo
Cocido Andaluz – a quintessential Spanish stew consisting of chickpeas, potatoes, morcilla sausage, ham. It’s a classic peasant dish using scraps of meat to flavour a soup which is bulked up with whatever is cheaply available e.g. potatoes and chickpeas.
Eggplant with Honey (Berenjenas con Miel) a classic Cordaban dish. Seems a little strange but actually works well and is very tasty. The honey used is traditionally Miel de Cana which is sugar cane honey. It is closer to molasses than honey from bees.
Oxtail Stew (Rabo de Toro) is a Cordoban dish – Made from the tail parts of the dead bull that was distributed after the bull fights. This was initially a poor person’s dish but turned into a rich person’s dish when it was realized that when this undesirable cut is braised for a long time, the meat becomes tender and the sauce velvety.
Churros being fried in oil – deep fried dough has a place in almost every cuisine in the world. Cheap ingredients, elevated by deep frying makes for a delicious, cheap snack!
Churros Con Chocolate
Mercado Central de Atarazanas
Mercado Central de Atarazanas
Mercado Central de Atarazanas – bacalao or salted cod is a common ingredient. Historically, cod was salted to preserve it for long ship journeys. This food has a long history that involves the slave trade.
Mercado Central de Atarazanas – various types of seafood dominates Andalusian cuisine.

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