My first impression of Spanish food was not ideal. I was at a University meet and greet evening and picked up what I thought was Serrano ham. It was in fact Iberico ham AKA feety meat. Its scent has haunted me throughout my time in Salamanca where Iberico ham shops are a-plenty. I made sure to enforce this experience upon all my visitors as a “cultural experience”. Having said that, Spanish food is one of my favourite aspects of Spanish culture and most of my time has therefore been spent eating.
An obvious choice for recreating Spanish food would be paella. However I was taught how to make this by a man who thought A HANDFUL of salt was “about right” so I’m going to leave this one until my more culinary friend (Luis) has taught me what to do.
One dish that Luis has already taught me is pan con tomate. It’s not a dish so much as a breakfast and has done what no other toast topping has ever managed to achieve; it has beaten both nutella and speculoos to the post of favourite toast topping. It is also incredibly easy to make as it is quite literally bread (usually toasted) topped with (seasoned) grated tomato. The seasoned part is important. It was in fact when Luis spotted me making unseasoned pan con tomate at work that I was swiftly given my first Spanish cookery class.
All you need for this Spanish classic is:
• A large tomato or two
• Olive oil
• Black pepper
• A garlic clove (for rubbing on your toast if you want to – I usually don’t bother)
• Bread for toasting
All you need to do with these ingredients is:
• Grate the tomatoes into a bowl (discard the skin)
• Add a bit of oregano, pepper and a (large in my opinion) splash of olive oil
• Put the tomato onto the toast
Apparently I made it well once I remembered to season it. I’m now a little bit ashamed that I ever got it wrong in the first place!
Lucy, Salamanca and Valencia