Madrid Recipes: a culinary delight from the capital of
Historically speaking, Madrid has always had a
magnetic effect on the remaining Spanish regions. Whether due to the fascination
for the Court, or to look for work and a better future than that offered in the
countryside, over the years this region and the capital of Spain has become a
melting pot of people, cultures and gastronomies. Madrid accepts all types of
influences from all types of cooking. It does have its own dishes which,
although they did not originate in this area, have become "madrileño" over time.
The traveller who visits their local bars, will
see that for the locals of Madrid, breakfast consists of white coffee and toast
and butter or oil. However, more importantly, the traveller will see that the
"madrileño" has a passion for the slender, curly fingers called "churros" or the
The typical midmorning snack is the a slice of
accompanied by a small glass of beer called a caña. When enjoying the Spanish
custom known as "tapeo" - going from bar to bar eating
tapas, the visitor
will discover that although Madrid is a totally interior region, the locals have
a weakness for seafood. Prawns, which can be boiled, grilled, "con gabardina" (cooked
in beer), or served with garlic sauce, mussels, which can be steamed or pickled,
in vinegar and bonito which is also pickled are the most popular "tapas"
dishes, although they are certainly not the only ones: croquettes and mini-casseroles
with almost every ingredient you can imagine are also found among the region's
typical tapas dishes.
But if we wish to really understand Madrid's
cuisine, we must not forget "cocido" (meat, potato and chickpea stew) and tripe
(callos). Although neither of these two dishes was originally from Madrid, it is
true to say that it was this city that gave them their special character.
"Cocido madrileño" could be defined as a
combination of all the "cocidos" prepared in the rest of Spain and even America
and its preparation depends more on the availability of products and the climate
than anything else. As a result the chickpea has become the most valued pulse in
the region. It is in fact used in many more traditional dishes other than the
"cocido", such as the chickpea and vegetable stew and is often served with
spinach and cod. However, the chickpea is not the only legume used in Madrid's
cooking. Others which have acquired special status are the lentil, which is
eaten with "chorizo", and the haricot bean.
Madrid: A Gateway to the Sea
Seafood is not only present in the tapas of
Madrid. The city receives fish and seafood from nearly every harbour in Spain,
given the fact that it is practically equidistant from all of them. At Christmas,
the most typical dish is red bream, which is currently in competition with hake
and sea bass. But Madrid and its surrounds are a real paradise for meat lovers.
Basque and Castilian carveries have started to
spring up throughout the region, which have granted the T-bone steak and the
suckling pig the right to exist in the area. With the Court established in
Madrid, game became popular, including wild boar, fallow deer, and especially
partridge and pheasant.
With regards poultry, the most popular is
chicken. "Casquería", or alternative meats include: fried giblets, sweetbreads,
etc., and are typical Madrid dishes. The people of this city love pickles:
gherkins, olives, marinades...
Desserts from Madrid
Some of the most important dessert ingredients
include the strawberries from Aranjuez and the melons from Villaconejos. But
apart from these typical fruits, the region also enjoys a variety of sweet
desserts which are normally served during fiestas. Typical examples are the "torrijas",
a type of bread pudding which is normally eaten during Holy Easter Week, the
"buñuelos", a type of fritter which is filled with custard, chocolate and cream
and the "huesos de santo", marzipan shapes which are traditionally eaten on All
Saints' Day, etc.