Sunday, August 5, 2012

Catalan Menu, Part One

Sagrada Familia Cathedral

Back to Madrid, my adopted city, from the amazing Barcelona but I can´t wait to go back and enjoy everything this city has to offer, especially its cuisine.

In Barcelona you can find all types of cuisines, but what one should really try is the local food. The Catalan cuisine is part of the Meditarranean diet, that is based on vegetables, fruits, nuts, olive oil, cereals and seafood. In other words a very healthy, rich and delicious diet!

I have tried some of Cataluñia´s most popular dishes and in this post I will try to recreate some of them so you can sample a few of the treats that Barcelona can offer to you!

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and what better way to start a journey with pa amb tomaquet; it´s the typical breakfast in Cataluñia and in many other Spanish regions. All you need for this simple dish is bread, garlic, tomato, olive oil, salt and pepper. Yes, just that, bread with tomato!

Simple ingredients for a great breakfast

Grate a medium-sized tomato, which is enough for one person, season with salt and pepper. Toast your favorite bread, while it´s still hot rub with a garlic glove, then drizzle some oil over the bread, and serve the tomato puree on the side. Dunk in the warm crunchy bread in the refreshing tomato sauce and enjoy.
A good way to start your day!
For lunch, why not try one of the Mediterranean most popular vegetables, the artichoke. Catalans are in love with artichoke, it's no surprise it ranks as the number 2 vegetable in Cataluñia after tomatoes. Catalans are pretty creative with its use and you can find it featured in so many local recipes. I will share one with you which I had in Barcelona which was incredibly delicious and is so easy to make.
Before baking in the oven

It´s Artichoke with Iberian ham and parmesan cheese, for it you need:
  • 500 g of artichoke (if fresh boil them until soft, if in jar just drain them)
  • Garlic (to taste)
  • 150 g of cured Spanish ham
  • Parmesan cheese (about 200 g or more)
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in an oven proof pan, add the garlic. Wait until the garlic smell hits you to add the artichoke. Stir for 3 to 4 min. Season with salt and pepper, but don't be heavy-handed with the salt as the ham and the cheese are salty, otherwise the dish will be too salty. Add the ham all over the artichoke, sprinkle the cheese and put in the oven. It´s ready when the cheese has melted and the ham is a bit crispy.
Creamy and hearty wholesome meal

Add some oregano and drizzle with high quality fragrant oil extra virgin olive oil. You can add pepper and rosemary if you want. Enjoy with some red wine or all by itself!
Serving suggestion

The main course will be with the one of Catalonia´s star products: Botifarra!
A sausage taking its source from an old roman recipe, it contains pork meat and spices, even though you can find other varieties where rice or blood are added and even truffles!
There is an endless list of botifarra recipes, and I chose the one with white beans since the buttery sweet consistency of the beans really compliments the meaty spiciness of the sausages. 

For the botifarra with beans you need, for 3 to 4 persons:
  • 600 g of sausages (2 pieces)
  • 500 g of cooked beans
  • A garlic clove
  • The juice of a lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of ground cumin and cinnamon
  • Chives
If you are lucky and have a barbecue, grill the sausages, if not fry them in a pan with some oil.
Sausages frying in the pan

Meanwhile heat the beans. Crush the garlic with the salt and the spices and add the lemon juice. Mix with the beans and add a little bit of the water you used to heat the beans and then drizzle with high quality olive oil.
Serving suggestion
Serve some beans in the plate and add the fried sausages and garnish with chives!

I know by now you're craving for something sweet, but that will have to wait a bit!


  1. Ah, botifarra amb mongeta - t'estimo botifarra amb mongeta - can we have some gambas too please, Riri!??

  2. Rico Rico.....Pa amb tomàquet i mongetes amb botifarra, no puede ser mas típico de mi ciudad Barcelona. Buenísimo y estupenda presentación.