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Spanish Recipes Search
Spanish Regional Cuisine
Spanish Vegetable Recipes
Cardoons, swiss chard, eggplants, zucchini, asparagus, and other vegetables,
whether cooked alone or as part of a more elaborate presentation, are typically
served as a first course in Spain, rather than as an accompaniment to a main
course (a main-course accompaniment is usually roasted or fried potatoes, potato
purée, or white rice). Since some of these vegetables dishes, such as the
mixed-vegetable menestra de verduras from Navarra, require a lengthy
preparation - often far longer than grilled meats or fish - it's fitting that
they receive special attention at the table.
However, many of these first
courses could indeed make wonderful accompaniments in the American sense. For
example, in Spain, the classic La Mancha stew, a simple blend of tomatoes and
peppers, is often served with fried or scrambled eggs as a first course for
lunch or dinner, but it would go well with grilled fish or meat as a side dish,
And the versatility of these dishes, despite their prescribed place on the
Spanish menu, does not end there. Most of these first courses can be served as
main courses by simply increasing the portion size.
Escalivada: Catalonians eat this dish as a
first course or as an accompaniment to meats. The special characteristic of
these roasted vegetables is their smoky flavor, since orthodoxy demands
roasting them over embers (the Catalan word escalivar means 'to roast
over ashes or embers'). I have prepared them in the oven with good results.
Zarangollo, a simple dish, which combines the ubiquitous zucchini of Murcia
with onions, is a favorite of Murcian cooks, who prepare it both with and
Menestra de verduras: Menestra is one of the
irreplaceable dishes of Navarra cuisine. Menestra can be served as a side
dish to fish or meat, or as a main course in its own.
Sautéed Swiss Chard with Raisins and
Pine Nuts: In Catalonia, this is an everyday first course, with spinach sometimes
standing in for the Swiss chard. Cooks in the Balearic Islands combine these
same ingredients to make the filling for cocarrois, their traditional vegetable
Sauteed Piquillo peppers: Piquillo peppers require little extra work because they are already
roasted and bursting with flavor straight out of the jar. I often serve them as
a side dish with meats, sautéing them in olive oil, garlic, and a little milk.