The first country I ever visited abroad was Spain. We spent 10 days on the beaches of Barcelona, letting our taste buds be our guide. Catalan food differs from that of the rest of Spain, due to the influence of French cuisine and the proximity to the ocean. For example, cannelloni, rustic stews and shellfish were all very predominant on most menus. It’s comforting yet fresh and always full of flavor.
We were lucky to get a few truly authentic Catalonian dishes while we were there. Because every worldly traveler knows that every tourist destination has hidden gems that are more culturally aligned with the region’s history. Here were some of my favorite spots:
Bravo24 – For being in the W Hotel, this restaurant was surprisingly traditional. Chef Abellán has designed a menu based on the cuisine of Barcelona, making a thorough study with food historians of the city to offer a very personal cuisine.
Bar Del Pla – An infamous local’s gathering spot with a mix of authentic and really fresh tapas. They have a mushroom strawberry salad that everyone goes crazy over. After 8 days of eating a lot of fried, heavy food, it was a very welcomed dish.
Mil Gritos – We popped in here for lunch. And even 3 years later I can still remember how amazing their cannelloni was.
While we were there we took a cooking class and learned how to make gazpacho andaluz, tortilla Española, and of course – paella. So it has become a tradition around this time of year to create my own Spanish tapas spread to celebrate our trip. You’ll see a snapshot of the feast above (before we all dug in): Tortilla Española, bacon wrapped dates stuffed with cheese, roasted cauliflower and shishitos with marcona almonds, gambas al ajillo and charcuterie.
I’m sharing the recipe from our cooking class for Tortilla Española, an easy dish I think everyone will enjoy. When I made it at home I tried to limit the amount of oil by doing a shallow fry (sorry, I can’t help it) and I also added some red onions. It was delicious! I would recommend using a smaller circumference pan though if you want to get more height to the Spanish omelette. I also highly recommend this cooking class if you’re planning on traveling to Barcelona in the near future.
I’m always looking for more traditional Catalan recipes to try. I’d love to find a good cookbook – especially to try this time of year with their abundance of stews. If you know of one, shoot me a message! In the meantime, I’ll stick to finding recipes on Pinterest and getting inspiration from menus. (PS – if you’re really looking to have a cooking adventure, try making fideua. I think it’s even better than paella!)