You’ve just arrived in Barcelona, to your new house share with Inèdit. Everything looks different: the people, the streets, the general atmosphere. One of the main things you notice is the food. Whether in restaurant menus, the products in the markets, or even the contents of your refrigerator, everything is new and exciting. There is a culinary world to discover in Catalonia, and we want to be your guide 😉
First, you need to know that Catalan cuisine is one of the most diverse cuisines in the world. The variety of regions in Catalonia, the products and even the composition of the soil, make the highest quality natural ingredients. Catalan cuisine is based on a series of fundamental pillars: the Mediterranean diet and the combination of sea and mountains, as well as the tradition that goes as far back as the Middle Ages.
But we are aware that not everyone has the time to cook complicated dishes, and our goal here is to make your life easier while discovering our exciting culture, especially if you do enjoy it with your roomies. After all, the great thing about having a room for rent in Barcelona is that you can share great moments with people from all around the world. Nothing like a good dinner to get to know each other better and bond.
So here are the 6 essential Catalan dishes that cannot be missed at your next Catalan dinner with its recipes so that you can prepare them.
Pa amb tomàquet (Bread with tomato)
There are several theories about the origin of ‘pa amb tomàquet’. The tomato arrived in Spain in the IV century from America. The first written reference of its use was in 1884, by the ‘Pagesos’ (Catalan farmers). At that time the tomato was used to soften the dry bread, preparing it in the exact same way as we do today.
The process of preparing ‘pa amb tomàquet’ is as follows: take a slice of toast and rub a raw clove of garlic on it (this step is optional, don’t worry if you don’t like garlic). Then, cut a tomato in half and rub it on top of the bread, making sure that the juice and the pulp stick to the bread. Next, pour a generous stream of virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt, and it’s ready to eat. ‘Pa amb tomàquet’ is traditionally eaten as a side dish, although it can also be the main dish if it’s topped with ham, sausages or cheese.
‘Escalivada’ is another typical dish of the Catalan cuisine and comes from the verb 'escalivar' (roast over embers). The dish consists of four grilled vegetables that are combined. These vegetables can be different depending on the different Mediterranean regions, but the basic ones are pepper, onion, eggplant and tomato.
The preparation is simple: roast the vegetables on the grill or the oven. Start with the onion, the eggplant, and the pepper and finally add the tomato. Once they are done, proceed to peel and tear them, to make strips. Later place them in a tray, pouring a good generous glug of virgin olive oil and salt. It can be served directly or paired with meat or fish.
Butifarra amb mongetes (Catalan sausage with beans)
The ‘Butifarra amb Mongetes’ is a very typical Catalan dish. The ‘Mongetes’ (beans) were introduced from America in the XVI century, while the ‘Butifarra’ is a type of Catalan sausage. It was in the second half of the XIX century when this dish became famous, and since then it has not stopped growing in popularity, in addition to different versions created by well-known chefs.
The preparation of the dish is very simple: the ‘Mongetes’ are boiled in water until they get tender. The ‘Butifarra’ is fried in a pan, although before you must pierce them so that they cook well inside. Once the ‘Butifarras’ are ready, remove them using the same pan to fry the boiled ‘Mongetes’, and add a dose of olive oil, salt, juniper and garlic. When they are ready, add the ‘Butifarras’ to the pan, so that everything comes together. Then they’re ready to be served!
The ‘Esqueixada’ has been around since the beginning of the 20th century. In Catalan 'esqueixar' means to tear, since it is a salad of raw vegetables with torn cod, and it must be prepared without using the knife. Traditionally it is made with raw cod, although there is also the option of previously frying it in oil. Because of its freshness, it’s a typically summer dish.
The recipe is very simple: chop several vegetables, which can range from onion, pepper or tomato. Later take the cod, raw or cooked, and tear it to mix it with the vegetables. As you can see, a very simple and delicious dish.
Espinacas a la catalana (Catalonian spinach)
Spinach came to Spain around the year 1000 ACE thanks to the Arabs. Catalan spinach is one of the oldest dishes in the Catalan recipe book. Its origin in writing appears for the first time in the Middle Ages, in several Catalonia regions, which are characterized by preparing it in a very specific way.
The main ingredients of Catalan spinach are pine nuts and raisins, which must be sautéed in a pan with garlic as a first step. Later we will add the spinach, in addition to having the option of adding onion, ham or bacon strips. Catalan spinach can be eaten as a main dish or used as a filling for dumplings or ‘cocas’ (Catalonian salty cake).
Embutidos catalanes (Catalonian Sausages)
The sausages are typical of the Catalan cuisine, and the variety and flavor changes according to the different regions of Catalonia. Depending on the geography, the sausage adopts different names and varieties such as ‘Espetec’, ‘Somalla’, ‘Secallona’ or ‘Xolís del Pirineu’.
However, the most typical sausages of Catalonia are the ‘Butifarra’, the ‘Fuet’ and the ‘Paltruc’. These sausages can be bought in supermarkets, and the usual way to eat them is alone, with bread or in a sandwich. These sausages are the perfect complement for snacks at every moment of the day or paired with ‘pa amb tomàquet’.
The most fun part of cooking is doing it for several people, for example, your roommates. Your Inèdit Barcelona house share roommates are the perfect audience to display these delicious and typical dishes. Catalan food that will help you get to know your roommates and make new friends while enjoying the Catalan gastronomy.
In the shared apartments of Inèdit there is always the best atmosphere. Young people from all over the world living the Barcelona experience at the same time. This is the reason why we propose you prepare a typical Catalan dinner with some of these dishes that we have featured and share them with your roomies. Discover Catalonia through a delicious lunch or dinner.