Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Kitchen Mouse’s Spanish Menu - Soup, Egg & Rice Dishes

Originally published July 3, 1984

Spain is different! So say the tourist posters. And the Kitchen Mouse will add marvelously different. Spanish cooking too is different, as different as a Flamenco dancer - full of color, vibrant, natural and always interesting. It has its roots deep in antiquity, and has been influenced by the many peoples that have passed through the land: Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Goths, Arabs, Jews and many others, each of whom has left its own distinctive mark on Spanish food and eating habits. Then too, the cuisine has been affected by Spain’s extensive contacts with the New World. But is has always retained its own zesty individuality: what has been adopted has been adapted.

Cocidos - Soups
Soup, in any of its many variations, is particularly good for a busy day - it is simple to make, requires little attention while it is cooking, and it is a whole meal. Further, it is a budget stretcher, as it uses the cheapest cuts of meat and you can take advantage of vegetables and meats that are in season and easily adapt these recipes to use leftovers.

Arroz - Rice
Paella is undoubtedly the star of Spanish cooking, the dish best known outside the country and the one that has done the most to spread the gastronomic fame of Spain. This succulent combination of rice, chicken and seafood exists in many variations and is the subject of numerous recipes. It is a native of Valencia on the Mediterranean coast, where every chef has his own closely guarded secret formula for preparing it, as has every housewife. Nonetheless, in many restaurants that are famous for their paella you go to the dining room by first passing through the kitchen, where you can watch these expert cooks making it. And still not learn their secrets.

However, paella is basically a simple and not at all complicated to make but it is demanding and requires the proper ingredients, utensils and procedure.

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