Spanish Tuna Tapas All Seafood Lovers Need to Try
Spain is a seafood lover’s paradise, since its more than 44,000 kilometers of coast ensure that there is fresh fish available all year long. Because of this Spaniards grow up eating a variety of seafood from both near and far. One favorite fish is tuna, which is used in Spanish homes almost every day in one way or another. If you take a look at a menu in a tapas bar, you’ll find more than a few Spanish tuna tapas on the menu. Here are some of our favorites that we’re absolutely hooked on!
Pimientos del piquillo
Pimientos del piquillo, are preserved peppers that are stuffed with mouth-watering canned tuna. If you’ve never thought of canned tuna as delicious, it’s probably because you’re accustomed to the dry, flaky stuff from the supermarket whose fate is to be mixed with mayo and slapped on a sandwich. The Spanish are masters of preserving tuna and other seafood in olive oil and canning it, letting time enhance it’s flavor. The cans are hand-packed, and the olive oil ensures a smooth taste and texture.
This canned tuna is the perfect ingredient to fill peppers with, as found in pimientos del piquillo. These peppers are also from a can, and are soft from the olive oil. On top of a crusty piece of bread and topped off with ali-oli, this recipe really lets the tuna shine.
Mojama de atún
Mojama de atún is a specialty from the south of Spain, particularly Huelva and Cádiz. It’s origins go all the way back to the Phoenicians who would fillet and cure tuna in salt to preserve it. Mojama as we know it today is made the same way. Tuna loins cure in salt for two days and then the salt is washed off. It’s then left to cure naturally, hanging outside in the breeze and sunshine. Mojama may seem strange, but it’s a delicious, salty bite that’s unlike anything you’ve ever tried before. This Spanish tuna tapa perfect on it’s own, but it can accompany other dishes, like salads and toast.
Empanada de atún
Galicia, in the northwestern corner of Spain, is known for having some of the best seafood in the country. It comes as no surprise that some of the region’s most popular dishes feature fish, like empanada de atún. Empanada, which can be filled with any number of ingredients, consists of layers of flaky dough featuring Spanish olive oil. The filling is a mix of onions, peppers, tomatoes, and canned tuna, all lightly sauteed together in more olive oil and spices. Empanada is usually baked in one big baking sheet and then cut into portions. It’s not as common to find it as individual hand pies, like its Argentinian cousin. This makes for a delicious snack that can be eaten any time of day, as it’s quite filling.
See more: 7 Delicious Seafood Tapas Recipes
Ensaladilla rusa is Spain’s take on classic potato salad, using tasty, local ingredients. This cold salad includes potato, peas, carrots, tuna and egg, all slathered in mayo. Most typically, ensaladilla comes with little breadsticks, picos, that are perfect for scooping. The tuna gives the salad a nice saltiness that balances well with the other ingredients. This tapas bar classic is on every menu, so you’ll have no problem getting a taste when you’re in Spain.
Marmitako de atún
Want to try something more refined? Marmitako de atún is just the thing for you! Hailing from the Basque Country, this hearty stew features Spanish tuna as the star ingredient. During the winter, it is a favorite dish to help warm up from the cold. Some of Spain’s favorite produce, like peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes, also play a role in creating this thick, delicious stew that will fill you up and satisfy your taste buds. It’s also really easy to prepare at home, so you can bring a bit of Spain to your kitchen!
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