Products of the Spanish Gastronomy by Carlos Mirasierras .pdf
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A FEW PRODUCTS OF THE SPANISH GASTRONOMY,
BY CARLOS MIRASIERRAS
The process of determining the quality of
wines is a process defined by a set of
organoleptic tests that
by three senses: sight, smell, and taste.
Wine-tasting is a very subjective activity,
so don't be surprised for the various and
different opinions expressed on the
same wine. In order to carry out the
process of tasting and testing the
prerequisites should be borne in mind.
So a suitable and comfortable place is needed; somewhere where the temperature
cannot affect the characteristics of the wine, as well as a good lighting that can help the
wine display its color properties and absence of undesired sediments.
When it comes to describing wine properties, taste peculiarities and other
characteristics, wine-tasters use a special vocabulary that may sound a bit bizarre but
in fact it identifies each little difference when that wine is compared with another one
that presents similar color notes and types of grapes.
How to organize a wine taste.
In the first place, it is advisable
to choose, as I said before, a
suitable and comfortable place;
a quiet and odorless place, as
strong smells (air fresheners,
smoke, etc.) can condition our perception of smell and taste. The room temperature
should be between 18º C- 22º C (64º F-72º F) and the light in the room should be
enough to clearly see the aforementioned color notes and the presence of sediments,
although natural light is the best.
Sometimes it is said that the color of the tablecloth can have an influence on
determining the different shades in the color of a wine. If you are tasting a rosé, a pink
or a pale yellow tablecloth is acceptable.
Also, the type of glass used to taste a wine
can play a significant role on the results of
the wine test: a glass with a thick brim will
give you the sense of drinking wine from a
dish, while a fine brim allows the entering of
air into your mouth, so a slight oxygenation
of the wine is produced.
Other characteristics of the glass include a
tulip- or bowl-shaped design to allow aromas
to accumulate around your nostrils. Also, the
glass should have both a stem and base big
enough so the wine-taster can hold the glass
without touching the bowl of the glass. A
thin, transparent, and colorless glass will not add color shades and will allow detecting
any sediments the wine may have developed during its aging process in a sealed bottle
.Glasses should be cleaned with hot water only, and avoid the use of detergents, as
they would leave residues and chemical odors that can, and in fact do, affect the taste
of the wine under test. Perfumed serviettes or similar objects should not be used either.
The amount of wine to be served should not exceed a third of the capacity of the glass
bowl. You should not taste more than five or six wines per session, as your capacity to
distinguish the different tastes and aromas will diminish. The temperatures, as shown
below this lines, should be the appropriate because a too high temperature causes the
evaporation of some substances that will never be recovered.
Young white wines and sherries:
7 to 10º C
Sweet white wines:
6 to 8º C
Aged white wines:
10 to 12º C
6 to 8º C
10 to 12º C
Young red wines:
12 to 15º C
Aged red wines:
17 to 18º C
Spanish Olive Oil
Olive Oil is one of the most representative
products exported by Spain. This represents a
strong source of incomes for this European
country. Spain is the first producer of Olive Oil
worldwide, as the yearly average production
although recent estimates put the figures up to
1,000,000 tons. Over 250 million olive trees
covering an area of
2 million hectares do
represent more than 25% of the world’s olive
In Spain, the quality of the olive oil is controlled
by six main denominations of origin. The production of this high quality Olive Oil begins
with collecting the olives from the trees, pressing them and ends with the packaging
process. Quality, though, starts in the land, in the olive trees, which, in combination
with the soil, climate, farming techniques, transport, storage, as well as many other
processes that take part in the production of oil, do lead to a product that has been
described in many scientific studies as the promoter of a healthy status.
Properties and benefits of extra virgin olive oil
The beneficial effects of consuming
scientific studies. Fats and oils have
a common denominator: they both
provide 9 calories per gram; but the
metabolism of each different group
differs greatly from the rest. Olive oil
contains many compounds that are
beneficial to many of the
biological and therapeutic value is
related to its chemical structure.
Its triglyceride composition is the first aspect to take into account as it is made up of
fatty acids. Monounsaturated fats, oleic acid principally do predominate in olive oil has
a prevalence of, while animal fats are fundamentally made up of saturated fatty acids,
and polyunsaturated fat can be found in seed oils. Monounsaturated fatty acids are
much more stable. Olive oil also has a low percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids
and this is very significant as these type of fatty acids cannot be synthesized by the
The second aspect is can be found in its minor components. The most salient ones are
tocopherols and polyphenols. Such components have a major antioxidant function and
are closely related to virgin olive oils because refining processes do alter and remove
these minor components.
it contains essential acids that cannot be produced by the human body;
it slows down aging, and
it is useful for bile, liver and intestinal functions.
The ancient Greeks used to take 1-2 spoonfuls of olive oil every morning.
It was regarded as a matter of hygienic practice which helped deal with simple chronic
constipation and stomach ulcers. At present, this practice is recommended for its
positive influence on the digestive function
despite the advancements achieved in
modern medicine and pharmacology. It is
worth bearing in mind that olive oil has a
beneficial effect in the dietary treatment of
diabetes. Also, it helps controlling blood
pressure and increases the bone mass. It is
also said that olive oil has a favorable effect
on the development of the central nervous
and vascular systems, as well as the development of the brain in children.
The human body can easily absorb olive oil, and that means that our body can absorb
a series of good ingredients such as vitamin E and phenols, which provide antioxidizing properties and prevent the oxidization of fatty tissues. Another important
cleansing of the gull bladder, and also helps the digestion of other fatty substances
the pancreatic enzyme called lipase.
Spanish Serrano ham
Spanish Serrano ham is a unique product
in the world, the ideal meat product for a
healthy and balanced diet because of its
nutritive properties. The Spanish Serrano
ham is a result of a process which
maintains its original qualities.
Both the Spanish and those non-natives
who have tried the Spanish Ham can
vouch for its exquisite flavor. It very
common to observe visitors to Spain on
the beach trying a delicious plate of Spanish Ham. If you haven’t tried it yet, you
From a nutritional view, ham is made up of proteins, fat and water. It has vitamin B,
phosphorous, calcium and iron.
100 grams of Spanish Ham have:
• 30-35 grams of protein.
• 8-14 grams of fat, which is necessary for your organism as a reserve element and a
precursor to other elements.
• 4-6 grams of salt.
• other elements such as vitamin B, iron, phosphorous, and calcium.
It has an intense but exquisite taste, it is smooth on the palate and has a characteristic
Jamón Serrano "Serrano ham",
literally "ham from the sierra, or
mountains") is a type of jamón (drycured
generally served in thin slices, or
The majority of Serrano hams are
made from the landrace breed of
white pig and are not to be confused
with the much more expensive jamón
Fresh hams are trimmed and cleaned,
then stacked and covered with salt for
about two weeks in order to draw off
excess moisture and preserve the meat
from spoiling. The salt is then washed off
and the hams are hung to dry for about
six months. Finally, the hams are hung in
a cool, dry place for six to eighteen
months, depending on the climate, as
well as the size and type of ham being
cured. The drying sheds (secaderos) are
usually built at higher elevations, which is why the ham is called "mountain ham".
The majority of Serrano hams are made
from the landrace breed of white pig and
are not to be confused with the much more
expensive and entirely different jamón
ibérico. These hams were known as a
delicacy even in the days of the Roman
Empire. Though not expensive in Spain
and the European Union, duties imposed
on imported meats and exchange rates
makes these hams more costly outside the
EU. Where available, the meat can usually
be purchased sliced, in chunks, or as a complete, bone-in ham.
There are many producers of Spanish hams but the level of quality can be judged by
the following elements:
The type of pig
The way the pig has been fed
The part of the pig used to make the ham
The way the ham is cured
The four major quality categories of cured ham are as follows, from highest to lowest
Jamón ibérico de bellota: Free-range, acorn-fed Iberian pigs
Jamón ibérico de recebo: Acorn, pasture and compound-fed Iberian pigs
Jamón ibérico de campo (sometimes just jamón ibérico in short and also known
as jamón de pata negra): Compound-fed Iberian pigs. Pata negra (literally black
hoof), which only accounts for about five percent of total ham production, is
made from the Black Iberian pig (cerdo ibérico). The best varieties of pata
negra are range fed and fattened on acorns in cork oak groves along the
southern border between Spain and Portugal. (See the two sub-categories
Jamón serrano (also known as jamón reserva, jamón curado and jamón extra):
Compound-fed white pigs.
Chorizo is one of the most successful
products used in Spanish cuisine. It is a
sausage made with pork´s minced
meat and various spices, such as garlic
or pimentón (paprika).
distinguished by its intense red color,
which is due to the paprika added
during the production process. The
smoked drying or air-drying, will provide
its preservation characteristics, and will
add a particular flavor.
The wide diversity of chorizos is due to the different recipes and spices used in their
production. Sausages are a form of food devised to last for a long time; they were
invented because in former day there were no means to preserve meat that would not
be consumed immediately.
In fact, chorizo (in Spanish) or chouriço
(in Portuguese) is a term that comes
from the Iberian Peninsula, and which
covers several types of pork sausages.
Chorizo can also be a fresh sausage,
cooked before eating them; they are
barbequed, grilled, or fried in a little oil,
served in a bread roll, and seasoned
with a sauce called chimichurri; they are known as choripan, and it could be said they
represent the typical fast food of Argentina and Uruguay. These chorizos are made of
a mixture of pork and beef minced meats, and their origin can be found in the Galician
region; in fact, Spaniards were called, in a pejorative way, Galicians because most of
them arrived from Galicia. In Europe, it is more frequently a fermented, cured, smoked
sausage, in which case it is often sliced and eaten without any cooking process, and
can be added to other dishes as an ingredient that gives flavor. Spanish chorizo and
Portuguese chouriço get their distinctive smokiness and deep red color from dried
smoked red peppers (pimentón/pimentão). Due to culinary tradition and the cost of
imported Spanish smoked paprika, Mexican chorizo is usually made with chili peppers,
which are widely used in the Mexican cuisine. Traditionally, chorizo is encased in
natural sausage casings made from intestines, which is a method already used since
Some types of chorizo can be eaten without further cooking (e.g. sliced or in a
sandwich). Chorizos can be grilled, fried, or simmered in liquid, and it includes apple
cider, and other strong alcoholic beverage such as aguardiente It also can be used as
a partial replacement for ground (minced) beef or pork.
Spanish-style tapas bars that serve traditional Spanish-style chorizo have become very
popular in recent years, and now can be found in many large cities throughout USA
and other parts of Europe.
Spain has a long tradition as a cheese
Spanish cheeses have always
Manchego variety is, within the wide range
of cheeses, the most valued one.
Mancha, a region which is located in the
central part of Spain and is famous for Don
Quijote´s adventures. This cheese is made
exclusively from sheep´s milk, since the
land´s features and climate are really beneficial for the breeding of sheep and for its
There are indeed many elements that distinguish this cheese from the rest of cheeses
in Spain and these elements have to do with its external appearance, The Manchego
cheese has a characteristic cylindrical shape and a hard yellow-brownish rind.
However, the inside part has an even color, which ranges from white to yellow. There
are several degrees of cheese maturation: The more mature the cheese is, the darker
the yellow color is.
Also, the smell of Manchego has to do with its maturation time, so the greater
maturation degree of the cheese the greater is the intensity of its smell, but in general
its smell is, however its maturation degree is, its average smell is greater than the smell
of many other cheeses. Also, its texture has to do with its maturation degree: the
greater the maturation degree the harder and crumblier its texture.
Cabrales is probably one of
the world’s best blue cheeses.
This cheese is produced in a
small mountainous town
Spain. It is so good and so
Government has allowed the
(GI) Cabrales, so no one else
can use this name.
Cabrales cheese is made from
the milk of cows, sheep and
goats. This is due to the fact that several centuries ago the poor people of that
mountainous town had to use any milk they could get when they first made their
Once the cheese was finally made, they covered the cheese rounds with oak leaves
and put them to age in caves. This, in itself, reflects the poverty of these people in
those days when they did not have anything else to cover and protect the cheese
As the cheese aged, the penicillin fungus invaded the cheese and turned the cheese
meat blue. The same process takes place with Gorgonzola and Roquefort cheeses,
from Italy and France. Penicillin is a fungus found in damp cool areas throughout the
planet. As we know, this fungus attacks the bacteria that thrive in damp cool areas, so
it protects the cheese from this type of bacterium.
Spanish Cured Pork Loin
The Spanish Cure Pork Loin (also
known as the Spanish Lomo)
internationally known thanks to its
great quality and exquisite taste. It is,
perhaps, the kind of cured cold meat
that consumers like best. The Spanish
Lomo is a product that comes from
Iberian pigs and is characterizes by
its soft and slightly spicy taste, as well
as its great nutritional value. This is
due to its high protein content, which is around 50%, and its low fat content (roughly
8%). It resembles a long and thick bar that takes shape from its elaboration process;
and the weight is around 1 kilogram.
It is served cut in thin slices, so its delicate taste can be fully appreciated. The first
thing that draws our attention is the pinkish color it has, which is interspersed with small
portions of fat. To eat it on a slice of crunchy fresh bread will highlight its properties
and taste, although it can be eaten in a sandwich. However, in order to fully appreciate
its taste, it should not be eaten together with products that may alter its flavor, such as
cheese, sauces, pickles, etc. Nonetheless, a Catalan (Catalonia) bread presentation
(called pa amb tomaquet) is much more advisable, as the bread is rubbed with a ripe
red tomato, sprinkled with some oil and a little salt. All of which adds a touch of
delicacy that cannot be easily matched.
Paella is a Valencian rice dish, which
in general contains peas, beans and
meat; also other ingredients such as
green or red peppers, mushrooms or
seafood can also be found in the
numerous variation of this dish. It
originated in its modern form in the
mid-19th century near lake Albufera,
a lagoon in Valencia, on the east
coast of Spain. It possibly is the most
international dish of the Spanish
cuisine. Many non-Spaniards view
paella as Spain's national dish, but
most Spaniards see it as a regional Valencian dish. Valencians, in turn, regard paella
as one of their identifying symbols.
There are many gastronomic reasons that have made of Paella an international dish,
and one of them is the possibility of using a wide range of ingredients, which can be
selected according to the cook's preferences, or the degree of availability of products.
To prepare a "mixed paella" is one the options, and the ingredients used include meat
and fish: what in Catalan and Valencian culinary terms is known as a "mar i montanya"
(sea and land dish), and, as a matter of fact, there are countless mixed paella recipes
Today this rice dish can be prepared in practically anywhere on earth by only following
a series of simple instructions, and using the ingredients available on that moment.
The yellowish color or paellas is due to the use of saffron, which, not only provides
color to the dish but also a special flavor, and it, the color, draws the guest's attention
and prepares him/her for a special encounter.
In fact the name paella, comes from the
name of the pan in which the rice is
cooked. Regardless of the ingredients
used, paella is a very tasty dish, which
serves as a double course meal, and
which can be accompanied by a salad. In
general, it is prepared in the open air,
cooked on firewood , or on special gas
ring burners -which are connected to
portable gas cylinders-, or even on very
restaurants prepare this dish at a good
price, so if you're not an experienced "paellero", ordering a paella in advance (fish,
meat, or mixed) can be a delicious solution. Another significant point of interest has to
do with the type of rice to use. Most paella chefs use "calasparra" or "bomba rice" for
this dish. Other key ingredients include saffron and olive oil.
Sangría could also be the drink of choice if you're looking for a complete summer meal.
There are many recipes for this drink, and the worst hangovers are produced by, on the
one hand, an excessive intake of this drink, and, on the other, by the bizarre mixture of
alcoholic drinks used. I usually recommend to mix wine-derived liquors, except for the
Cointreau. My recipes is as follows: 1 litter of young red win; 75 to 100 ml of red
vermouth; 75 to 100 ml of Spanish brandy (avoid reserve brandies); 50 to 75 ml of
Cointreau; 150 to 250 ml of a sparkling lemon beverage; 3-4 tbsp of sugar; some
lemon and orange rinds; and, of course, ice cubes. Also, some fruit dice are added.
Spanish Omelet (Tortilla Española)
For many, the Spanish Omelet is a true
symbol of its gastronomy. Its recipe
contains eggs, potatoes, onions (some
regard onion as an option), but, to tell the
truth, the Spanish Omelet has become one
of the world’s most international products.
Every tourist who has visited Spain will
have probably tasted this delicious dish as
accompaniment to a meat dish. There is a
variation to this dish that is called "Tortilla
a la Paisana", in which some other
ingredients can be added, such as small Serrano ham cut into small dice or strips;
chorizo, also cut into small dice or strips; (both cure meats previously fried); peas; wild
In bars, you can see the Spanish omelets perfectly round, thick, and thoroughly
cooked, although it is advisable (when cooking it at home) to leave it a little
undercooked as this makes it more juicy to the palate. This, more or less, holds for
scrambled eggs, or the more sophisticated and culinary version: scrambled eggs with
prawns, Serrano ham, mushroom, and a long etcetera. Here is, on this link, a recipe
that I have found in The Guardian; to me the recipe and the procedure are correct.
Fabada Asturiana is a very nutritious and
tasty stew that is originally from Asturias, an
autonomous community located is in the
northwest of Spain. This dish, though, can
be eaten in many other regions of Spain and
it has become the signature dish of many
renowned restaurants. It combines the
ingredients of great nutritional value.
In fact, fabada is a hot and heavy dish and
for that reason it is regarded as a single-
course dish. It is most commonly eaten during winter as the amount of calories is
extremely high and can be seen as a seasonal dish. This type of meals are currently
served in very small presentations on account of what I said before. In former days this
was the kind of food that village people and peasants ate; they needed a great source
of energy, so all the fats and calories were practically "burned" during their hard work
activity. Asturian cider or red wine are the drinks of choice for this course .
The Asturian bean is very valued for both for its nutritional features and its buttery
taste. The rest of the ingredients contained in the recipe include pork meat, black
pudding (blood sausage), chorizo and raw streaky bacon.
The Origin of the word cider comes from the Greek word Sikera. In Latin it appears as
sicera and in the Asturian language (bable) it began to be pronounced sizra and finally
the term cider was thoroughly accepted. Many history documents mention the words
the cider and pomares (plantations of apple trees).
The Spanish Cider has traditionally been made in the north of Spain, specifically in
Asturias. Due to the great demand of this kind of Cider, its production does not cover it,
and so the fields of apples that are used for the production of Spanish Cider had to be
Thus, when we travel the north of Spain we can find several places in which a
traditionally made cider is served, following the traditional production methods.
Cider or sidra is, just as the Fabada, a traditional product originally from Asturias and
for centuries it has been served in a peculiar way: The server holds up the heavy green
glass bottle high and the glass down and begins
pouring. The technique is called "escanciar la sidra"
and is the traditional pouring method that allows the
aeration of cider on its way down to the glass some 2
or 3 feet below the bottle. This oxygenates the cider
and improves the its taste in the process. Tourists
visiting Asturias try their cider-pouring skills when they
have the slightest chance and usually end up spilling
more cider on the ground than what in reality lands in
the glass. The premises are known as sidrerías, and
they certainly catch the visitors' eye because of the
rural decoration and the great amount of cider barrels
that can be found inside them.
Due to the great demand for this kind of drink the production of cider does not cover
the demand, so the number of apple orchards has been increased.
Horchata, in Spanish, or
name of a popular soft drink
produced fin Valencia, and
which is popular throughout
Spain. However, there is
horchata is actually made
of. The look is that of milk,
and the taste is delicious
and refreshing, but what is it made of?
The confusion over its recipes is largely due to the fact that horchata is also a popular
drink in Mexico and other parts of Latin America. In Spain, Horchata is made of water,
sugar and tiger nuts (chufas), while in Latin America it is a rice-based beverage.
Actually, tiger nut is a plant called cyperus esculentus. Horchata is therefore perfect for
vegetarians, vegans and people with nut allergies.
Despite the fact that horchata is produced all through the year, it is mainly consumed in
summer at any time of the day, and, as any cold alcohol-free drink, it helps fighting
summer´s warm temperatures, but don't forget it is a nutritional drink, so calories
should be taken into account when it comes to following a strict diet. There is a
confectionery product called "fartón" (also from Valencia) that is eaten together with
Morcilla is one of Spain´s most characteristic products. Morcilla or Blood Sausage is
popular both served as a tapa and as an ingredient in stews. Morcilla is generally a
thicker sausage, about 2 1/2 to 3 inches across. There are several types of them: some
are stuffed, in addition to
pig’s blood and spices with rice, or onions (previously
cooked), although like all Spanish cuisine, ingredients will vary from region to region.
Morcilla from Burgos is famous for being the best in Spain.
Morcilla can be consumed as a tapa or snack; however, it is, first cut into thick slices,
fried and served on a piece of bread Spaniards generally cut morcilla into thick slices It
is also an excellent ingredient in stews and bean dishes, but it is recommendable to
added to the simmering stew 10-20 minutes before the end of the cooking time as
blood sausages tend to crumble; it seems a short cooking time, but they release flavor
in no time, so don't worry. Due to its high content of iron (from the pig's blood), it is
indeed a very nutritional ingredient.
Due to its rural essence it is made in a different way on each region. Thus, we can find
a great variety of Morcilla around Spain. All of them are different, but delicious. In spite
of this variety, we can find two main types of Morcilla: those containing some rice and
others containing some onion.
The rice variety is typical from Aragón, while those with onion are characteristic from
Castilla, being the Morcilla from Burgos the most famous in Spain. However, one can
find each of these products all throughout Spain, since they have become a product
that is present in every home.
The best way to cook Morcilla is grilled. After spending a while on the fire, the outside
part gets crunchy while the inside is juicy. Regarding its taste, we should highlight the
great number of spices that are added throughout the production process, giving it an
Some links related to this file:
The Gastrosite of Spanish recipes — The Gastrosite of….on Facebook — Some Pieces of the
French Cuisine — – The French Cuisine as It Really Is — The Italian Cuisine as It Really
is — InterGastroLinks — La Isla Bonita Caribbean Recipes — PhotoGastrosite by Carlos
MIrasierras — Carlos Mirasierras on Scribd — Carlos Mirasierras on Pinterest —
Gastronomía Española por Carlos Mirasierras — La Cocina Británica — Carlos Mirasierras
google + — https://twitter.com/gastronomypics