Catalan Recipes – Open Your Eyes to Catalan Cuisine and its best dishes!
Barcelona, symbol of the Mediterranean cuisine, has been a must-visit location for food lovers for many years. Catalan recipes are geography, history and culture here. Catalan cuisine has constantly absorbed influences that have helped to shape the country’s rich and diverse culinary traditions. Cooking here has great character influenced by Greek, Roman, Italian and French culture, which have left their mark on this complex cuisine by taking the best of each country and creating a culinary package of the region. Catalonia is also made up of coast, mountains and fields and this is why a lot of typical Catalan recipes use concepts revolving around fish and meat. We find many fresh and elaborated products thanks to local farmers who are developing work on the land and bringing the tastes and traditions of Catalan gastronomy to the people and positioning it as a symbol of Mediterranean cuisine.
Behind the cuisine of Catalonia today, lies the story of a country, a way of being and of doing things.
Catalan eating habits – leisure activity!
Food is a huge part of life in Barcelona and all Catalonia and because of this it really dictates the schedule of the day here. Catalan people tend to eat their meals later in the day than is usual in other parts of Europe. To get the best culinary experience here you have to know the habits of local people and know the best Catalan recipes.
Breakfast! El Desayuno!
A lot of Catalan and Spanish people skip this meal and don’t put much importance on it at all. People tend to start breakfast here between 8 and 10, or just don’t eat at all much passed their coffee and cigarette. Usaully it consists of a coffee, juice, hot chocolate or tea + a croissant, toast with butter or toast with olives & tomato, or a slice of Spanish Omlette. At this early hour you will find special deals in the cafes and bars giving you opportunity to buy coffe eand pastry at a great price.
Coffee time! El Café!
Time for a little snack or just a coffee, is normally after sitting in the office for an one or two, between 10.30am and 12.00pm. You can order different kinds of coffees , and we are presenting you the most popular options in Spanish:
- Café solo – a shot of espresso
- Café cortado – like espresso macchiato
- Café con leche – like a latte
- Café Americano – American style coffee
You can be lucky and find special offers to buy a mini entrepa (a small filled baguette) with your beverage.
Lunch/ La comida
Time for the main meal – the largest and the most important during the day in Catalonia. It takes place between 2pm and 4pm. In the restaurants you can ask for “menu del dia” which changes every day and allows you to choose from various options at a reasonable price. A lot of places are closed during lunch time: like small shops, businesses, public places and ect. so keep this in mind coming to Catalonia.
Afternoon Snack/ La merienda
Since in Catalonia dinner is eaten late, you can have a light afternoon snack between 5pm and 6:30pm to keep you going. You can get at this time of the day typically some pastries, hot drinks, or small sandwichs. It can be an ideal time to try chocolate and churros. (Gran Viader churros place is one of the most famous in Barcelona!)
So let’s start from this that you are eating dinner quite late in Catalonia – between 9pm and 11:30pm. It’s a much lighter meal than many foreigners think and it’s typically smaller than lunch. At this time of the day you can try tapas, which are not as popular in Catalonia like in other parts of Spain, but still without any problems you can find many places which are serving them, although we think that you should try dishes made by following Catalan recipes.
As well, you have to know, that the last meal can last several hours. The most enjoyable part would be sobretaula (post meal chat) and in typical Mediterranean style by sharing a fusion of dishes with friends and family by the table.
We are warmly inviting you to enjoy Catalan food and we are giving you few simple catalan recipes which you can try by yourself at home!
Pan Con Tomate (Pa Amb Tomaquet)
Sometimes called Pan a la Catalana in other parts of Spain, it is one of the simplest, most well-loved, and most widely eaten dishes from Cataluña.
- 2 juicy, ripe tomatoes, peeled
- 1 clove garlic
- 3-4 tbs olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Cut the baguette lengh-wise and then in the smaller pieces. Toast the cut sides under a broiler, or in a toaster oven.
- Peel tomatoes and garlic, place in food processor and crush and thoroughly mix. This mixture you can pour into a small bowl to serve.
- Drizzle olive oil over the toasted sides of baguette. Sprinkle salt on top. Spoon tomato mixture on bread and spread evenly.
If you wish, add thinly slices Spanish cheese, chorizo or ham.
Catalonians eat this dish as a first course or as an accompaniment to meats.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 4 small eggplants
- 4 spring onions or large scallions
- 4 red bell peppers
- 2 tomatoes
- Extra virgin olive oil for brushing, plus 1/3 cup
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- Prepare an oven – 260 C
- Brush the eggplants, onion, bell pappers, and tomatoes with olive oil. Arrange the vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet or in a roasting pan and roast, turning every 10 min, for 20 minutes, or until the skins blacke and the vegetables are tender.
- Remove the vegetables from the oven and slip into one or more plastic bags, and let cool for about hour.
- Unwrap the vegetables. Peel the eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes and peel away outer layer of the onions. Split the bell peppers in half, discard the seeds and stems, and cut lengthwise into strips. Transfer to a bowl. Trim the stems from the eggplants and core the tomatoes, and then cut them into strips of the same size as the papper strips and add to the bowl. Trim the onions, cut into rings, and add to the bowl along with the garlic.
- Add the 1/3 cup olive oil, season with salt, and toss to mix well. Serve at room temperature.
You can use seasoning of minced garlic.
This is a traditional Catalan recipe. Cod fish is used in many different ways in Catalan cuisine and this one is in my opinion the one that accentuates the flavor of the fish the most.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 1 pound salt cod (previously soaked in water at least 6 hours, rinsed, then patted dry
- 1 small green pepper
- 1 small red pepper
- 4 firm yet ripe tomatoes
- About 15 black olives
- One onion
- 1 cloves garlic
- Olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Shred the cod into pieces with your fingers and place it in a serving dish.
- Finely chop onion and bell peppers. Cut the tomatoes in half, then, with a cheese grater, grate the tomato pulp (some prefer the tomatoes chopped rather than grated, you can try this way as well) Mince the garlic.
- Throw all of the previously prepared ingredients onto the plate of fish and toss. Top with the olives, then dress with olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Toss once more and you’re done.
Suquet de Peix
“Fish stew” in the Catalan language, and it is a traditional dish from the region. Like all traditional dishes, there are many variations of this fish stew.
Ingredients (4-6 Servings)
- Picada Sauce:
- 50 gr peeled whole almonds
- 2 slices stale bread
- 3-4 Tbsp flat leaf parsley (stems removed)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1-2 Tbsp vinegar
- 2-4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 3 large, ripe tomatoes
- 1 lb potatoes
- 2 lbs (1 kg) pieces solid white fish (such as halibut or gilt-head bream)
- 8 shrimp
- 1/2 to 1 liter seafood broth
- salt to taste
Cook Time: 30 minutes
- First prepare the picada sauce:
- Toast the blanched almonds under the broiler or in a frying pan. Chop the parsley leaves. Peel and finely chop the garlic.
- Place the almonds, parsley, garlic into a food processor. Crumble the stale bread and add to the rest of the ingredients.
- Mash or process the ingredients as you slowly add oil and vinegar, forming a paste. Set aside for later.
- Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Cut the tomatoes into small cubes. Peel and slice the potatoes into rounds about 1/4 inch thick.
- Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil into a large frying pan and heat on medium. Sauté the onion for 2 minutes, then add tomatoes and garlic, and continue to cook. Add the potatoes and stir to coat.
- Mix a few tablespoons of seafood broth with the picada, then add to pan and simmer.
- When potatoes are almost cooked, add fish to pan and simmer. If liquid evaporates, add seafood broth as needed. Sauce will thicken. As soon as potatoes and fish are cooked, add shrimp. Cook until shrimp is done. Adjust salt to taste.
- Serve hot in open soup bowls.
A sauce made from almonds, roasted garlic, olive oil and dried red peppers.
Ingredients (1 ¾ cups around 8-10 serves)
- ½ cup of roasted almonds
- 1/2cup grated Parmesan
- 1 Garlic clove
- 45 grams jar roasted red peppers (drained)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Cook Time: 10 min
- In a food processor pulse almonds, parmesan and garlic clove.
- Add roasted red peppers, olive oil, vinegar, and ¼ teaspoon salt and blend until smooth.
- Serve wth bread and vegetables.
Version of the French dessert, crème brulee, but we are giving you Catalan recipe of it
- 500 ml whole milk
- Colored part of ½ orange peel
- Colored part of 1/5 lemon peel
- ½ cinnamon stick
- 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
- 7 egg yolks
- 95g sugar, plus 6tbsp extra, to serve
- 10g cornflour
- Put the milk, orange and lemon zests, cinnamon and vanilla pod in a saucepan and gently bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the suger and cornflour until pale and creamy. Pass the milk through a sieve and discard everything else. Return the milk to the pan over a medium heat. Just before it reaches boiling point, slowly add the egg mixture, whisking continuously until it begins to thicken, about 7 minutes.
- When the mixture is think anough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, remove it from the heat and pour into individual dishes or remekins. Cover each serving with a disc of greaseproof paper to prevent a skin from forming, and let it cool before placing in the fridge.
- To serve, remove the greaseproof paper, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar on top of each crema and caramelise using a blowtorch. Alternatively, place te sugared cremas on a tray under a preheated gas grill for a few minutes, until the sugar turns dark brown. Allow the sugar to harden, the serve immediately.
Traditional sweet which you can find in Cataluna. Very popular at “Dia de Todos los Santos” or All Saints Day and served with “cava”, Spanish sparkling wine.
Ingredients (for around 32 cookies)
- 500g ground raw almonds
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 -1 cup water
- 1 small potato
- grated peel of 1 lemon
- 3-4 drops lemon juice
- pine nuts
- sweetened cocoa powder
- candied fruit
- instant coffee powder
- coconut flakes
- Blanch almonds, then grin in food processor until almonds are a fine dust.
- Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters. Boil potatoes in a saucepan until cooked. Drain water and mash with a fork.
- Place sugar in a medium saucepan. Pour ½ cup water into the pan and stir to dissolve sugar. Add moe water to completely dissolve sugar if necessary. Place on medium heat on stovetop and bring to a boil, stirring often. Add 3-4 drops of lemon juice. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture is a thick syrup.
- Remove saucepan from heat. Using a large wooden spoon, gradually stir in ground almonds, potato and grated lemon peel. Allow to cool to room temperature. Then, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
- Pre-heat oven to 190C degrees. Grease cookie sheets. Spoon out dough with a teaspoon. Roll dough into small balls in your palms. Then roll the balls in powdered cocoa or pine nuts. If using pine nuts, brush each with a bit of egg white.
- If you want to flavor the cookies, separate a portion of the dough and with your hands, work in a bit of instant coffee flakes, candied fruit or cinnamon. Then make individual balls.
- Bake cookies just long enough to brown the pine nuts – about 4 minutes. Using a spatula, remove immediately before cookies cool.
Bonne Appétit, or as they say here in Catalonia ‘Bon Profit’!
Enjoy our Catalan Recipes!