3 Course Meals – Part 3: Spain


Spanish culture differs from our own when it comes to dining. Breakfast is a modest meal, if it’s eaten at all. Lunch is the most elaborate meal of the day. It’s served in many courses with copious amounts of wine. That accounts for the siestas.

During the early evening, around cocktail hour, spaniards often enjoy tapas, or a selection of small plates. The custom began thanks to annoying flying insects. In order to keep bugs out of patron’s drinks, bartenders would place small plates on top of the glasses. At some point, someone with a big mouth probably said,”Quit teasing me! If you want to put a plate in my face, stick some food on it, buddy”

It started with a slice or two of ham. Bars always compete for business, so they each began to offer a special dish. Not wanting to miss out on a unique and tasty treat, patrons began to develop a strategy. They would order one drink, per bar and visit several different locations in an evening, enjoying a bite at each spot.

Dinner is usually served quite late and it’s a relatively small meal.

We will do a separate post on tapas. Today is about a dinner party.

If you’re feeling festive, you might want to make a sangria. If not, serve a selection of wines.


Sangria is a combination of red wine and fruit juices. Other liqueurs are frequently added for flavor and impact. This recipe adds sugar, which we prefer but sugar is optional.

When your guests arrive, offer them a glass of sangria. ( in a red wine glass). Small dishes of marcona almonds, add a nice touch.


  • 1/2 c brandy
  • 1/4 c fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 c frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1/3 c orange juice
  • 1 bottle dry red wine
  • 1/2 c triple sec
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • Sliced fruit to garnish
  • Orange
  • Lime
  • Lemon

Mix all of the ingredients and refrigerate overnight Garnish with sliced fruit Cut the fruit into round slices for an attractive presentation

Ensalada templada de - The Perfect Warm Salad

You will probably want to switch to wine at this point. A whole night of sangria will not only discourage your guests from eating, it will also earn you some nasty remarks from the guests who woke up with whopping headaches the next day.

The Topping

  • 1/4 c chopped green olives from the jar
  • 1/4 c jarred roasted red peppers, chopped and drained
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp chopped, fresh oregano

You can make this a day ahead and refrigerate it Just combine the ingredients



The Croutons

  • 4 heaping cups of cubed ciabatta or rustic bread
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small cloves of garlic, minced
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Combine olive oil and garlic
  3. Toss the bread cubes with garlic oil
  4. Bake for 10 min
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp sherry wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c finely chopped shallots
  • 4 c arugula
  • 4 c baby frisée, torn into bite sized pieces A pinch of kosher salt
  1. Whisk the olive oil, vinegar and shallots
  2. Toss with the arugula and frisée
  3. Sprinkle with salt
  4. Divide the salad onto 4 plates
  5. Distribute the croutons evenly
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 lg eggs
  • 4 oz thinly sliced manchego cheese
  • 4 slices Serrano ham
  1. Heat the oil
  2. Crack each egg into the pan
  3. Cover each egg with 1/4 of the cheese
  4. Heat for 2 min, until cheese melts and the egg white is firm
  5. Place one egg on top of each plate of salad
  6. Cover each egg with a slice of ham
  7. Top with a dollop of the olive topping
  8. Serve immediately


A classic dish from Spain. It’s a bit of an effort but your guests will love it.



  • 3 c bomba or arborio rice
  • 8 c chicken stock
  • 1 lg onion diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lg bell pepper, diced
  • 4 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 4 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • 1 lb calamari
  • 2 lbs chicken legs
  • 1/2 lb chorizo, sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 c fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 3 lemons, quartered
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil


  1. Heat the stock in a pot, don’t let it boil
  2. Heat the oil in a paella pan
  3. Brown the chorizo without fully cooking
  4. Remove it from the pan and set it aside
  5. Brown the chicken legs, searing the skin but not fully cooking and set them aside
  6. Add garlic, onions and pepper to the oiled paella pan and heat until soft
  7. Add tomatoes
  8. Push the vegetables to the side of the pan
  9. Heat the tomato paste on the other side
  10. Caramelize it by spreading and flipping it for about 2 min on high heat
  11. Add the meats and mix everything together
  12. Add paprika, parsley and thyme
  13. Add the rice and stir to brown, about 90 seconds
  14. Mix in the saffron as the rice cooks, be sure to break it up
  15. Add enough hot stock to just cover everything
  16. It should boil almost immediately
  17. Lower the heat enough to keep it at a low but steady boil
  18. Stir it a few times in the first 10 min, adding enough stock to keep it fully covered at all times
  19. Let it cook for another 20-30 min without stirring
  20. Continue to gradually add stock to keep it covered until the surface rice is al dente, don’t stir In the last 9 min of cooking, add shrimp and calamari, on top
  21. Flip the seafood over after 4 min
  22. Take the pan off the heat and cover for 20 min
  23. Do not lift the lid until the time is up
  24. Serve with wedges of lemon


Another stereotypical Spanish delight. Flan is also called caramel custard. It’s a wonderful light dessert.



  • 1 3/4 c heavy cream
  • 1 c whole fat milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/3 c water
  • 3 lg eggs
  • 2 lg yolks
  • 7 Tbsp sugar
  • Fresh berries for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Combine cream, milk and pinch of salt in a sauce pan
  3. Scrape the inside of the vanilla bean into the cream and add the bean
  4. Bring to a simmer
  5. Remove from heat and let stand for 30 min In a separate sauce pan, combine 1 c sugar and 1/3 c water Heat on low and stir until sugar melts Increase heat to high
  6. Do not stir, just use a wet pastry brush around the edges to keep melted sugar from burning
  7. After about 10 min, it should be golden/Amber
  8. Immediately divide the caramel between 6 ramekins
  9. Use an oven mitt to tip each ramekins and spread the caramel around, cover the sides too.
  10. Be careful. Hot sugar will give you a bad burn
  11. Place the ramekins in a  13x9x2 inch baking pan
  12. Whisk eggs, yolks and 7 Tbsp of sugar in a medium sized bowl
  13. Slowly whisk in the cream mixture
  14. Distribute the mix evenly between the ramekins
  15. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come half way up the ramekins
  16. Bake for about 40 min, until the centers are set
  17. Transfer the ramekins to a rack to cool
  18. Chill for at least 2 hrs until cold or cover and chill overnight ( up to 2 days)
  19. To serve, run a small knife along the edges and flip each one onto a dessert plate
  20. Garnish with fresh berries and serve with coffee and after dinner drinks

Enjoy your Spanish dinner

Next time


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