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Are the Spanish eating their vegetables?


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I see there are new additions from Murcia and Granada - two terrific vegetable places indeed - to this old thread, which really makes me happy because they further debunk the thread's initial assertion...

Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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I think there is a fundamental issue here -- we foreigners may have a different set of expectations when it comes to vegetables (or anything, really) but you are speaking from "27 years of experience".

The OP begins with talking about a salad; would anyone here really think about salad when eating in Spain?

I always found the food in Spain to be focused on some great ingredients -- jamon, olives, seafood, bread, cheese, piquillo peppers -- and not necessarily vegetable dishes. Most of the time I was eating tapas, or just a bocadillo or a menu; the vegetable to me often seemed to be an afterthought. I recall one time, in an obscure restaurant for lunch around the corner from my office, getting favas, and they were heavily stewed. To me, they seemed like an afterthought; I was hoping for something freshly prepared, that's all.

As I was saying, we all have different expectations and experiences from which to draw on. If you were to say the same thing about the US, I would probably think you were crazy, too -- but I never go out to a restaurant based on what they do with veggies, either :)

Best veggies that I had while in Spain? Grilled green onions, piquillo peppers, olives, white asparagus was interesting...unsurprisingly, I can't recall much more -- but I can certainly remember every bite of bellota.

Now I'm hungry.

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  • 1 year later...

I have been living in Murcia for two years now and can attest to the fact that vegetables are often the stars of local cuisine. Many restaurants offer a parillada de verduras, a heaping plate of fresh vegetables -- red peppers, asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, thinly-sliced artichokes -- seared a la plancha and seasoned with olive oil and sea salt. I have had excellent versions at Los Toneles (a bodega), La Pequeña Taberna (a bit more upscale) and Mesón de Angel (homestyle cooking). Some other popular vegetable dishes found in most tapas bars and restaurants include pisto, morcilla de verano (made with eggplant and pine nuts), zarangollo (a zucchini and onion scramble), and the potaje and vegetable rice dish (arroz con verduras) mentioned my MoGa. I never feel short-changed in terms of vegetables here.

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On our recent trip to Barcelona, my wife and I often commented on the lack of vegetables served as accompaniments.

Oh sure, you can get your fried artichoke hearts, your marinated artichokes, your olives - but salads, fuggetaboutit.

It amazed us because there is some spectacular looking produce in the markets.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Living in Paris, we eat a lot of fresh vegetables although we are not vegetarian. In our frequent travels to Barcelona, we never noticed a lack of vegetables in restaurants. The salads seem to be mainly a simple salad for clearing the palate, which is fine with me. I personally like cooked (not overcooked) vegetables.

In the Barcelona markets, vegetables are plenty and fabulous. Shopping in markets then cooking at home is a delight.

This perceived absence of vegetable is a big mystery to me.

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This perceived absence of vegetable is a big mystery to me.

But that's what I'm saying...it wasn't perceived. We were in Barcelona for a week, and then in Paris. The difference in how often vegetables were served in Paris (in the restaurants where we ate) vs. how often they were served in Barca (in the restaurants where we ate) was striking.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Huh.

I was in Spain ~ 9 years back, and the ensalada mixta was ubiquitous & invariate.

i like the stewed vegetables - the peas cooked w ham til they melt, etc.

And then there's always gazpacho - salad in semi-liquid form.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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This perceived absence of vegetable is a big mystery to me.

But that's what I'm saying...it wasn't perceived. We were in Barcelona for a week, and then in Paris. The difference in how often vegetables were served in Paris (in the restaurants where we ate) vs. how often they were served in Barca (in the restaurants where we ate) was striking.

If there werent differences, why go to both? The variations and differences are what make travel appealing.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Huh.

I was in Spain ~ 9 years back, and the ensalada mixta was ubiquitous & invariate.

i like the stewed vegetables - the peas cooked w ham til they melt, etc.

And then there's always gazpacho - salad in semi-liquid form.

Let me rephrase. The dozen or so restaurant meals we ate while in Barcelona had very little in the way of vegetable accompaniments compared to the dozen or so restaurant meals we ate while in Paris.

If there werent differences, why go to both? The variations and differences are what make travel appealing.

Of course. Who ever said any different?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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"View PostParigi, on 12 January 2011 - 07:32 PM, said:

This perceived absence of vegetable is a big mystery to me.

But that's what I'm saying...it wasn't perceived."

But cher Weinoo, everything is perceived. :cool:

I do not say this with any irritation or negative feeling. I am mystified and amused. It's as though we had gone to two Barcelonas in two universes.

But I was not hallucinating when the faaaab asparagus - a daily specialty in season - at El Quim in the Boqueria market screamed: bite me, bite me, bite me. I had to, just had to. (OK maybe I was hullucinating slightly...)

Ditto the shishitos that Pep forced down my throat at Cal Pep...

I wish there were a drooling emoticon.

The only cultural confusion that I can think of is that in many cities in north America, a salad is an obligatory sidedish. In Spain it is not obligatory. You have to order it separately.

Edited by Parigi (log)
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