No matter if you are cooking at home or if you are going to a restaurant, you need to know that starters are an essential on the Spanish cuisine and they must be included on every meal. Today we will tell you about the 10 most popular Spanish entrees:
📋 Typical starters in Spain
Before we start, you should know that the ones you are going to see are the most popular Spanish starters (They are on every menu), but we also recommend you trying the not so famous ones (They might surprise you!)
🐙 1. Pulpo a la Gallega (Galician Octopus)
If you ever visit Spain don´t say Galician Octopus is not good …Spanish people go crazy for their octopus, (specially in Galicia) and they could be really disappointed about it.
The “Pulpo a la Gallega” is probably the Spanish fish starter that people order the most in restaurants. You can also find the grilled octopus’ style, but everyone prefers the one from Galicia.
In case you are not visiting Spain, we recommend you trying to make it at home…It´s delicious! (See the recipe below).
🍅 2. Salmorejo soup
In this case we are talking about one of those easy Spanish starters recipes, it will literally take you about 10 minutes to make the salmorejo soup and it´s delicious.
The Salmorejo is typical from Andalusia and being more concrete from Cordoba. Trying a “Salmorejo Cordobes” is a must.
Cooking salmorejo is very simple you will just need tomato, bread, olive oil and garlic. We totally recommend you trying to make it at home, you won´t regret it!
🥖 3. Croquettes
On a Spanish entree’s menu, you won´t ever miss croquettes, or as how they say it in Spain: “Croquetas”.
The truth is that the origin of croquettes comes from France, but Spanish people love it as if they were the ones who invented it. No one in Spain will ever admit that there are better croquettes than the ones your grandma cooks…” Las croquetas de la abuela” are very famous.
There are a million types of croquettes, but the common ones are with ham. Unluckily, you need a lot of time and effort to make croquettes but believe us when we say it´s worth it.
🥔 4. Bravas Potatoes
Bravas potatoes or “patatas bravas” are also a typical Spanish starter. Although “Bravas” are common in Madrid, you can actually eat them everywhere in Spain.
These potatoes are normally served on a cubed shape, but what makes them special of course is the sauce. The brava sauce consists of onions, garlic, paprika and cayenne (in case you want them spicy).
Bravas are one of our favorite Spanish entrees recipes, see it bellow and if you have any question, ask us!
🦑 5. Calamari
On the top 5 Spanish starters, we decided to add the calamari, a dish that of course it does not have its origin in Spain, but it is true that the “Fried calamari style” is typical from the Mediterranean area.
The calamari have the fame of being delicious in the south of Spain (Andalusia), but what you probably didn´t know is that one of the best activities to do in Madrid is sitting on one of the terraces of “Plaza Mayor” while eating a good “Bocadillo de Calamares”
If you don´t have the chance of visiting Madrid, we recommend you trying the recipe at home…is very simple!
🍅 6. Gazpacho soup
You have already met his twin brother: “The salmorejo”. Salmorejo and gazpacho are similar on the look, but different on the taste, we recommend you trying both to choose which one is your favorite.
The gazpacho soup is one of those traditional Spanish starters that is very common during the summer months as its very cool and refreshing. To make it you will need a few ingredients like tomatoes, onions, peppers, croutons, cucumbers, vinegar, and olive oil.
There are different types of gazpachos, and as it happens with the salmorejo, this one is also very typical in Andalusia, especially in Malaga.
👨🍳 7. Mussels
Another of the Spanish fish entrees are the mussels, but in this case, you also find them as tapas. You will see these in every single festivity as it´s a perfect dish to put in a plate and share it with family or friends.
Many people love to buy pre-marinated cans of mussels and eat them with a cold beer on the weekends, but if you have enough time, we advise you to cook them yourself as the difference is huge.
Have you ever tried the marinated mussels?
🥟 8. Fried Empanadas
Empanadas are not one of those famous Spanish entrees and probably they are not as good as the ones in Argentina or Chile, but we still believe they are worth the try. In many restaurants you will find the empanadas and the croquettes as a mixed option (Don´t know why!)
Making empanadas takes way more time than what we all would like and of course the precooked version of the supermarkets is way worst, so if you want to try the real ones and you don´t have much time, we advise you to go to a good restaurant in the center of Madrid.
🥬 9. Ensaladilla rusa
The Olivier salad is a Russian salad made with chopped vegetables and a lot of mayonnaise. Although most of the people cook it with potatoes, olives, eggs, carrot…the truth is that each family has a different recipe.
Of course, the “Ensaladilla Rusa” is a Russian dish and a very common one during Christmas. In Spain it is eaten a lot and Spaniards have even created their own version, like the one in Murcia called “Marineras” which are served with bread and anchovies.
It doesn´t have the popularity of the croquettes or the bravas, but they are still served as starters in all the Spanish restaurants.
🥓 10. Multiple cured meats
We finally decided to add the multiple cured meats as some of the most traditional Spanish entrees. Although it´s true that these are generally served as tapas, in many restaurants you can have a combination of different cured meats as a first dish or starter.
On these plates you will see chorizo, morcilla, fuet or salchichon ad of course, ham. Sometimes they place a few slices of cheese too.
🍆 11. Ensalada Mixta
We are finishing the Top 10 Spanish entrees list with the Spanish green mixed salad. Is true that it´s a very simple dish and it doesn´t have anything special, but it will surprise you the amount of times Spanish people eat the «Ensalada Mixta»
As we said this dish has one of those easy Spanish starter recipes, and it will literally just take you about 5 minutes.
To make it you will need lettuce, tomatoes, olive oil, salt and vinegar… The rest of the ingredients are optional…see the recipe to discover the best combinations.
There are also vegetarian Spanish starters
Don´t worry if you are vegetarian, you can still try some Spanish starters. Although it´s true that the Spanish cuisine is known for having meat and pork on every single dish, there are a few exceptions.
Mushroom Croquets, bravas potatoes, fried eggplants are delicious examples of vegetarian starters in Spain. Plus, there are many restaurants where they are trying to make dishes like vegetarian chorizo or vegan Spanish omelet.
What starters will you find in Spanish restaurants?
It´s true that there is a huge variety of starters in Spain, but generally when you go to a restaurant you will for sure find the most typical Spanish starters. These are the croquettes, boquerones, mussels, calamari, empanada…Although all these are a must, we advice you to be creative and try different ones like the pimientos de piquillo or the Spanish cayos, you will love them!
Some good restaurants to eat startes in Spain are Mariscos Emilio, in Sevilla or Casa Toni, in Madrid.
Your Typical Spanish starters menu
These are just some of the typical ones, but there are way more, so we would love to hear other Spanish starters ideas and if you think we should add any other plate to this menus.
Hope you enjoyed reading about the entrees of Spain and if you have any question…Let us know!