Here in the U.S., consumers are very familiar with Mexican cuisine, and other South and Central American cuisines have been gaining momentum. But considering part of the influence of those cooking traditions, i.e. Spanish cuisine, tapas, paella and other Spanish favorites come to mind.
Part of the Valencia, Spain's regional fare, paella is a dish comprised of saffron rice, white fish, prawns and other seafood. Regarded as one of the most identifiable Spanish dishes, paella comes in many forms and fashions. It is flavorful, simple in some ways, yet offers complex flavor. It varies region-by-region, but all of the varieties are quite tasty.
Tapas are more or less a style of eating, rather than a specific dish. Similar to small plates in the U.S., tapas are small, sharable portions. Tapas are eaten as snacks, appetizers or many dishes are ordered and eaten to comprise a full meal. Typical tapas include: olives and cheese, Albóndigas (meatballs in sauce), chorizo or many types of salads. These types of small plates are often served at bars, and Spanish natives eat them before late dinners, which are typical in Spanish culture.
Croquettes are a staple at Spanish bars and restaurants. One of the most popular varieties, Croquetas de Jamon, are breadcrumbs mixed with cured ham made into little balls and fried up. According to spain-recipes.com, this classic Spanish dish is eaten as a tapa, and for lunch or a dinner when served with a salad.
In the U.S. we are very familiar with hot soups, but in Spain, Gazpacho, a cold tomato-based soup, is a favorite dish. Fresh, raw crushed, diced or pureed vegetables are added to the tomato base and the soup is chilled before eating.
Perhaps you have heard the name before, and we wouldn't be surprised! This type of dish is also popular in Portugal, France and has migrated into South and Central American cooking. Typical Spanish empanadas are comprised of dough filled with meat or fish, and then baked or fried.
Whether trying out Spanish cuisine, or cooking an American classic, look to Volk's Pop Up® Disposable Cooking Thermometer and Cook'd Right™ Sensor. The Cook'd Right Sensor is especially handy and easy to use for checking the proper doneness in small cuts of meat, while the Pop Up® can be relied on for larger cuts and whole poultry.