An Ode to Spanish Food

Nicole Stein
April 16, 2022

Salamanca, Spain is a home of the typical cuisine of the Spanish countryside. I still feel apprehensive about some typical dishes, like cochinillo (roasted suckling pig) or the over-indulgence on tuna fish which finds its way into cheesy lasagnas. On the other hand, I wake up every morning excited for a day in the heart of Old Castilla and the opportunity to indulge in some of my new favorite dishes. 

There's no better way to star a morning in Spain off than a café con leche. My first espresso in Spain was a shock to the system, since coffee in the United States is much weaker. Now, however, I can hardly get through the day without at least two cups of coffee (this might have something to do with my incredibly busy schedule). Returning to "U.S. coffee" is not something I look forward to…perhaps it's time to invest in an espresso machine. 

My typical breakfast in Salamanca, and maybe my new favorite food, is a tostada con jamon y tomate. The delicious tomato spread is quite typical in Spain, and also quite simple. Tomatoes are ground up using a cheese grater, and salt, olive oil, and garlic is added to taste. The toast can be topped off with Jamón Ibérico, Spain's most famous meat. It's made of cured pork, and it's impossible to find in the United States (much to my dismay). While many people enjoy tomato toast without the meat, I recommend it for some extra flavor, protein, and enjoyment. 

Another typical Spanish breakfast I cannot get enough of is tortilla de patatas. Similar to a Quiché or frittata, this traditional Spanish omelette can be enjoyed plain or with toppings— my favorite being ham and cheese. The dish only has three ingredients: eggs, onion, and potatoes. I look forward to cooking this for my family when I go home.  

Since we're talking potatoes, it would be wrong of me not to talk about patatas bravas. Directly translating to "brave potatoes," this dish demonstrates the Spanish fear of spice. Spaniards feel like these potatoes are spicy, and while they have a little kick, I definitely would not describe them as such. That does not stop this delicious food from being one of my favorites, and they're also quite simple. It's a combination of home fried potatoes and the traditional bravas' sauce incorporating tomato paste, chili peppers, paprika, olive oil, broth, and a garlic aioli.

A post about Spanish food would not be complete without shouting out my new home for giving me an appreciation of both black and green olives, a food I quite frankly detested before studying abroad. Now, I scarf down a whole bowl of both while sipping a drink on a beautiful terrace. When I first arrived, I told myself I would eat one olive every time I was presented with some to try to grow accustomed to the taste, but I absolutely did not expect it to work so well. I am excited to continue eating olives for the rest of my life. 

If you ever travel to Castilla y Leon, I really recommend trying all of these foods—you won't be disappointed!

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Nicole Stein

<p>Hi! My name is Nicole Stein. I am a Spanish major at Kenyon College from Montclair, New Jersey spending the Spring of 2022 in Salamanca, Spain! My favorite things to do are travel, try new food, swim in small bodies of water, pet baby animals of all kinds, spend time outside hiking, skiing and exploring, and making connections with people from all walks of life.</p>

2022 Spring
Home University:
Kenyon College
Montclair, NJ
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