Southern Spanish cooking is characterised by fresh fish, locally sourced vegetables, garlic, parsley and plenty of extra virgin olive oil. The allure of Spanish cuisine often lies in its simplicity - but also in the pride the Spaniards take in what they cook, how they cook it and how they eat it. While the traditional two-hour 'siestas' has disappeared in many parts of the Costa del Sol, in Andalucía it is a crime to rush your mealtimes - so leave your rushed lunches and uninspired dinners behind, your new life in the sun is sure to instil a new sense of pride in the way you cook and enjoy your meals with your friends and family. Here are our top 5 typically Andalucían dishes:
Pan con Tomate y Jamón
Served with a 'cafe con leche' or a glass of cold fresh orange juice, this is a typical Spanish breakfast on offer at any local bar or cafe on the sunny southern coast. 'Bread with tomato and ham' may sound deceptively simple, but in a way it is a finely tuned art: First, sun-ripened tomatoes are deseeded, chopped and mixed with just the right amount of olive oil, salt and sometimes garlic, then lightly pureed with a fork or mixer. Crusty white bread or freshly baked 'pitufo' rolls are then perfectly toasted, drizzled with extra olive oil, the tomato puree and then topped with Jamón Serrano.
Boquerones en Vinagre
This delicious and typically Andalucían dish is also available in all sorts of tapas bars along the Costa del Sol and often come in full size sharer platters at most good restaurants. Boquerones is Spanish for whitebait, and they are served marinated overnight in pure olive oil, parsley and plenty of chopped garlic, often with a fresh bread roll for dipping. Another great variation of this dish is 'boquerones fritos', whitebait lightly battered and fried, drizzled with lemon juice and served with a side of homemade alioli.
Salmorejo is a thicker version of Gazpacho that originated in the neighbouring region of Cordoba. The recipe is also seemingly simple - but made properly it is nothing short of alchemy; finely pureed tomatoes, garlic, onion, bread, olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, and then served with chopped Serrano ham, a boiled egg and sometimes tuna with a splash of extra virgin olive oil to top it off. As with Gazpacho, the soup is served cold and as a starter or middle plate - a perfect refreshing dish for a warm spring day.
Gambas a la Plancha
This classic Spanish tapa recipe consists of whole, unpeeled shrimp that are salted, cooked on a flat iron grill on high heat and served piping hot with a lemon wedge. Gambas a la plancha are often enjoyed as a sharer plate before your main meal - perfect with a chilled fino sherry or a cold beer on a warm afternoon.
Churros con Chocolate
Churros in Southern Spain are ridged pieces of crunchy fried-dough pastry that may be served straight, curled or twisted with a sprinkle of sugar and a cup of thick hot chocolate for dipping. Churros are a breakfast or afternoon snack and are often sold by street vendors or in small cafes especially dedicated to the delicacy called 'chuerrerías', often especially frequented by Spanish families and friends during the local fairs and holiday periods.