The autonomous community of Andalusia has its own rich and varied gastronomy, with differences between the coast and the interior. A strong foundation for the Mediterranean diet, let’s look at the main 10 unmissable dishes to try in the southern region of Spain.
The region of Andalusia is reminiscent of traditional Spanish culture, with a cuisine closely linked to the use of olive oil, nuts, fish and meat. Confectionery is heavily influenced by Andalusian cuisine, with the use of almonds and honey, and the region’s Christmas sweets are very well known: mantecados, polvorones and alfajores.
Here at Spain Life, Andalusia feels like our second home. And how can we resist such tasty delights? From dishes such as the espeto de sardinas, pescaíto frito, tuna with onions, and a hearty cup of gazpacho, we can’t decide which we prefer.
The truth is that in the south of Spain you can eat both healthy and delicious and today we are going to tell you which are the 10 typical dishes of Andalusia that you should try at least once in your life.
Andalusian gastronomy is characterised by the massive use of garden produce, as it could not be otherwise, as it is the garden of Europe for a reason! In addition to top-quality ingredients, such as boasting the best olive oil in the world, ham and, of course, lots and lots of fish. With access to such a large coastline, Andalusia has the pick of the best produce.
And best of all, being a land that has welcomed different cultures over the centuries, it has managed to incorporate all these gastronomic traditions into its cuisine. And don’t forget its tapas!
As the stand-out Andalusian dish, Gazpacho is a classic that you can find on the menu of almost any restaurant, not only in Andalusia but all over Spain. It’s popular as it is simple: this cold soup is prepared with tomato, green pepper, cucumber, garlic and olive oil. Bread can also be added to the recipe to give it texture, because in every house it is prepared in a different way, and that’s funny too! But of course, the less complicated, the better!
2. Pescaíto Frito (Fried Fish)
Pescaíto frito is a very simple but delicious dish. It is very typical of Andalusia, although it is also eaten a lot along the coast, being very common to find it as tapas in bars and beach bars.
For this dish, small fish with little bones are used, such as anchovies, sorrels, red mullet, red mullet or mackerel. Some molluscs can be added, such as squid, cut into small pieces or the marinade of various fish.
This is a simple dish that consists of coating the fish in flour and frying it in plenty of very hot olive oil, adding only salt. It is served freshly made, piping hot, and is also usually eaten as an aperitif.
3. Iberian Ham
One of the most popular products of Andalusian gastronomy is, without a doubt, Iberian ham. This is a prestigious acorn-fed ham, with the Los Pedroches Denomination of Origin.
This ham is produced mainly in the Valle de los Pedroches area, in the north of the province of Cordoba and in the Sierra de Huelva with the Jabugo designation of origin.
This ham out not only for its flavour but also for its aroma and texture is due to the unique microclimatic conditions in which it is produced, and to the fact that it comes only from Iberian breed pigs, fed exclusively on acorns and natural pasture, which are also free-range.
4. Salmorejo Cordobes
As its name suggests, this is the most typical dish in Cordoba. It’s a cold dish made with tomato, olive oil, vinegar, breadcrumbs and garlic. It is served with croutons, diced ham and a hard-boiled egg.
It should reach a consistency similar to that of mashed potatoes, and is usually served garnished with various garnishes, such as croutons, diced ham or grated hard-boiled egg yolks.
You’ll find it all over Andalusia, and it’s even widespread throughout the rest of Spain.
5. Albóndigas de Choco (meatballs in sauce)
Our next entry is bound to make your mouth water – meatballs! To make this traditional Andalusian meatball stew, the following ingredients are needed: choco, onion, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix everything together and form the meatballs, which are then dipped in egg and breadcrumbs and fried.
Separately, make a sauce with onion, garlic, red pepper, bay leaf, saffron, dry white wine, salt and olive oil. When it has thickened, add the meatballs and cover with water, leave to cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, making sure that the sauce thickens.
6. Rabo de Toro (Oxtail Stew)
Another traditional recipe from Cordoba is oxtail stew. Its origins lie in the popular calderetas (stews) that were held after bullfights, using the meat of the slaughtered animals. Nowadays it is a very widespread dish, which is not only prepared with bulls, but also with beef or veal.
Honestly, you will rarely eat such tender and tasty meat, and it is one of our favourites. The meat is cooked to perfection that it just melts in your mouth. The oxtail stew is simmered with a vegetable and red wine sauce and is usually accompanied by fried potatoes. And of course, homemade fries only!
Next up is a curious dish that is much lighter than the previous one: Ajoblanco, which is a cold soup that is perfect for hot summer days. The base is bread, which is accompanied by olive oil, garlic, vinegar, water, salt and the star ingredient: almonds.
It’s very popular throughout Andalusia, although especially in the province of Malaga. In fact, this recipe can be considered a variant of the typical Andalusian gazpacho. It is usually accompanied by grapes or melon.
Flamenquín is one of the most typical dishes you can eat in Cordoba and is present in most of its bars and restaurants.
It’s a type of fried roll, consisting of a breading in the shape of a roll where the meat is wrapped with the ham, which is then coated in flour and egg and fried in a frying pan with plenty of hot olive oil.
As for the filling of the flamenquín, the original recipe does not include cheese, although nowadays the recipe has been adapted and we can find flamenquines with different fillings.
9. Atún Encebollado (Tune with Onion)
Bluefin tuna is one of the most highly prized products in Cádiz, caught using the ancient technique of the almadraba. One of the simple and exquisite ways of preparing it is to prepare it in onion.
All you need is a good amount of chopped onion and, of course, the tuna (the belly part is best), as well as paprika and sherry vinegar. It sounds simple, but the result is surprisingly delicious!
10. Polvorones from Estepa
For our last entry, it would be fitting to end with something sweet!
Polvorones are eaten mainly during the Christmas season all over Spain, being very typical especially in Andalusia. It’s a kind of biscuit made with sugar, cinnamon, lard and flour. All these ingredients are used to make a dough that is baked in the oven. They are small in size, and their name comes from the fact that when they are eaten they crumble into powder.
Of the many polvorones made in Andalusia, the most famous are those known as ‘polvorones de Estepa’, a municipality in the province of Seville, which is well known even beyond our borders for making some very prestigious and high-quality sweets, including polvorones.
So there you have it! We hope you have enjoyed learning about some of the staples of Andalusian cuisine, and that you make sure to try some of these local delicacies the next time you find yourself in the vibrant and lively region of Andalusia.