1. Olive oil (“Aceite de oliva”)
How not to start with the queen of Andalusian cuisine? Consumed “Virgen Extra” raw on white toast, it is a true delight. Depending on the variety of olives used, the oil may be bitter, fruity and sometimes even slightly spicy. Of course, olive oil appears in every traditional recipe that requires fat and will be the faithful companion of all your meals in Andalusia.
Probably the most famous elaborated dish in Andalusian cuisine … and for good reason, it is best eaten when the sun and heat squeeze. Gazpacho is a raw cold soup, a very refreshing juice, made from seasonal vegetables: a tomato purée, cucumber and seasoned pepper and adding water and olive oil.
3. Iberian smoked ham (“Jamón ibérico”)
It is served sliced thinly on a plate. The authentic artisan product is “Iberico“ or “Pata Negra“, and should be enjoyed in moderation because it is expensive. About twenty euros the ration. You eat everything and especially the fine fat that retains most flavours and aromas.
4. Spanish potato omelette (“Tortilla española”)
A more than classic recipe of Spanish cuisine, “Wherever the tortilla goes, it triumphs“. It is the sublimation of three basic ingredients: potatoes, eggs and onions, which become a popular dish. Its simplicity contains a whole culinary science that Andalusians debate with passion. If there was only one “tapa“, it would be the tortilla.
Another cold soup, often the culinary surprise of a trip to Andalusia, and a speciality of the city of Cordoba. Its originality is its creamy consistency obtained by the skilful mixture of fresh tomatoes with crumb of rehydrated dry bread and oil. The dish is seasoned with garlic and served sprinkled with small pieces of eggs and ham (which vegetarians can happily ask to skip).
6. Home-made croquettes (“Croquetas caseras”)
A Spanish passion. A dense base of bechamel white sauce traditionally enriched with the remains of the previous day (often from cooked chicken, but also with ham, boletus, spinach …), battered and deep-fried. The result is crispy and mellow. It is probably the most requested “tapa” by Andalusians and very easy to eat in a bar.
7. Fried fish (“Pescaíto frito”)
Another Spanish passion, speciality of the coastal provinces, in particular Cadix. It is simply a small fish battered in flour and deep-fried in olive oil that can be seasoned with lemon juice and accompanied by mayonnaise. The grace of the dish lies in the freshness of the product served … Look for a specialized establishment or simply by the sea.
8. Grilled cuttlefish (“Sepia a la plancha”)
The grilled “a la plancha” cuisine is quintessentially Iberian. It is simply a dish cooked at high temperature between 220 and 260 degrees. This is the most popular method for preparing sepia, which is served seasoned with a little oil, garlic and parsley and usually accompanied by salad.
9. Bulltail stew (“Rabo de toro”)
Cordoba speciality, relative of the Milanese ossobuco: a meat stew cooked with tomatoes and seasoned that is presented with a succulent sauce. The peculiarity is the use of bulls or cows’ tail bones, which are not perforated and without marrow, but very rich in cartilage. A tasty dish that requires a long cooking time for the meat to become sweet and easily detach from the bone.
10. Fried eggplants with molasses (“Berenjenas fritas con miel”)
A curious dish often served as a dessert with sugar cane molasses (although the menu says honey). Attention since eggplants absorb frying oil generously. As a note side, indicate that eggplant was introduced by the Arabs who consumed it widely, being the Cordoba variety widely celebrated.
To conclude, we will point out an important absence: the dishes of legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas) that are ubiquitous in Spanish and Andalusian family cuisine … but that have less prominence in the bars, taverns and restaurants menus.