Today, September 27, we celebrate World Tourism Day, a remarkable date in Madrid as tourism is one of the strongest economic industries in the country.
So this post is dedicated to you, international travelers and citizens of the world. In Mercado de San Miguel we certainly talk about a lot of things, but if there is one topic we really like to bring up, that would be food. Food to gawk at, food that makes you drool and food that makes you go coconuts.
Let’s be real, Spanish l-o-v-e their food. And so do Madrileños. Eating local tapas and traditional delicacies is a must in order to make the most out of the Madrid experience. So let us introduce you to some of the dishes you can’t miss in Madrid.
Bocadillo de calamares (Fried squid sandwich)
Presumably the ONE fast food option for most Madrileños as it fulfills the “three B” requirements: bueno, bonito y barato (good, beautiful and cheap/or crunchy, cute and cheap). Basically a freshly baked baguette filled with olive oil deep-fried calamari, sometimes drizzled with tomato and paprika sauce or alioli (garlic mayonnaise for those of you not initiated to the Spanish healthy obsession with garlic). This is definitely a go-to if you’re craving something different and authentically Madrileño.
Ensaladilla rusa (Russian salad)
How did a Russian salad become one of the most seen (and eaten) tapas in practically every bar in Spain? Is it even Russian? Or is it just a Mediterranean recipe named after the country?
Truth be told, the original recipe is Russian. Formerly known as Salade Olivier in honor of its creator, Russian chef Lucien Olivier Guillerminav, the salad gets its name from one of its main ingredients, mayonnaise. Some say it is because the sauce resembles the snow that covers the country during the long winter season. Although the Spanish recipe is a more humble version of the original dish, as it’s made -among other ingredients- with potatoes, mayonnaise, carrots, boiled egg, peas, olives and tuna, it is still one of the most popular tapas among Spaniards.
Fun fact: the original recipe, served at Moscow restaurant Hermitage, included fancy ingredients like capercaillie, smoked sturgeon and Russian crab.
Croquetas de jamón (Serrano ham croquettes)
They say each mom (and grandma) has her own recipe for croquetas. And everyone in Spain likes to brag about their grandma’s recipe, claiming it is obviously the best. However and, as surprising as it may be for most Spanish, the recipe goes back to 18th century France. Actually, the name comes from the verb “croquer” (to crunch) and Spain can only claim to have adapted and perfected the recipe. Fillings usually include any leftovers like ham, chicken, stew, mushrooms, shrimp, etc mixed with bechamel sauce and deep fried in olive oil. Let’s face it, everyone goes crazy for these scrumptious deep fried goodies. And you will too. Guaranteed.
These are obviously just a few of the must-eats in Madrid and we will keep on posting more about traditional recipes, their history and other cultural anecdotes you may find interesting. Have you enjoyed this post? Make sure you comment and let us know which other recipes or tapas you would like to know about on upcoming posts.
In the meantime, come visit us in the Mercado and taste some ensaladilla, bocadillo de calamares or croquetas. We have them all and we surely crave them all.