What are some examples of Spanish food?

Asking for a friend who is participating in some kind of “Taste of the World” event at her son’s school. Her son drew Spain as his region to represent.

What is a tasty dish served in Spain- one that you could get in most Spanish restaurants- that you would recommend serving at an internationally themed buffet? (I’ll admit my knowledge of Spanish cuisine is too conflated with Mexican which is of course a different beast altogether, so without googling I couldn’t even tell you if Spanish cooking is spicy or bland.)

Paella: shellfish soup.

I’d go with that, except that it’s not soup. The ingredients should be easy to find anywhere and it really is one of the most Spanish dishes out there.

It’s not soup and it doesn’t have to be shellfish. There are almost as many paella recipes out there as cooks who cook paella.

I have a couple of recipes for Spanish dishes in the Mumper’s Recipes blog: potato omelette (tortilla de patatas) and garlic chicken (pollo al ajillo) are easy and travel well, they’re good for potlucks and about as Spanish as sangría. The garlic chicken is not frequently found in restaurants except within daily menus; the omelette is often found in bars and restaurants, either as a tapa or (cut in cubes) as part of hors d’oeuvres. Fideuá is also a good one, common in restaurants, and it travels better than paella (the noodles are less fond of sticking to each other): it’s identical to seafood paella except for using noodles.

Spanish cuisine is very diverse and regional; many of the dishes that come to mind as “typically Spanish” don’t travel very well. If the kid decides to try a paella (much more difficult than the omelette): make sure to use parboiled rice, otherwise it won’t travel well.

Here, my recipes from that blog. The “russian salad” is also very popular in work-class restaurants in Spain and in weddings hors d’oeuvres, but less likely to be found in Parts Abroad.

I’ve made the aforementioned potato omelet (tortilla) as a project showing how the same word in different countries can mean entirely different things. I made them in muffin tins for individual servings and they went over pretty well.

Churros y chocolate.

Spanish Omelette is a good option too - I make it about once a week because it’s one of the easiest, tastiest dishes I know. But now I fancy paella.

I’d suggest staying away from shellfish at a banquet style setting of young children. Just too great an allergy risk. Plus, y’know, bloody expensive!

If it were I, I’d make tapas. Lunchmeat, cheese, olives, bread…go wild. Fun for the kid to put together. Perfect for banquet style service, and perfect for each student to have a nibble or two. Not a lot of waste if the kid doesn’t like it, and leaves plenty of belly room for other kids’ dishes.

Every Spanish tapas restaurant I have been to has had bacon-wrapped dates on the menu. And they’re always amazing.

Serve with non-alcoholic sangria of course.

One of my favorite Spanish dishes (although it’s popular in the Caribbean and in Florida as well) is ropa vieja, stewed shredded flank steak with tomatoes and peppers, usually served with rice:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ropa_vieja

It would probably be a good buffet food, I would think.

Flan.

I’m going with Tortilla espanol, as noted in Nava’s post. It’s very easy to make, contains ingredients most children enjoy (potatoes, eggs, some onion) and can be served at room temperature.

Slice some boiled potatoes and fry with onions and some oil/butter as for home fries. Pour scrambled eggs (with some milk and black pepper scrambled in) over all: 6 to 1 dozen, depending on size of the pan - enough to cover the potatoes. Let cook without stirring over medium heat. When the edges bubble and look solid, the top with still be liquidy. Pass under the broiler for a minute to brown. Invert onto plate, cut into wedges or cubes.
Done!

A hunk of manchego on a plate with some olives. Anything else costs too much to serve to kids.

Tapas-style chicken croquetes are wonderful. They’re basically a creamy white sauce with ground up chicken breast shaped into logs that are rolled in breadcrumbs and fried. The Passionate Eater blog has a beautiful picture of the chicken croquetes. I made them once and they were lovely.

Also, patatas bravas is heavenly and so easy. Just cut up a potato (I like to cut mine small - about 1-inch chunks) and fry in oil 'til crispy with salt & pepper and garlic, then serve with sauce. I like to make a sauce out of ketchup, mayo, a little sugar and cinnamon, usually with a bit of hot sauce. So the sauce isn’t terribly Spanish, but it’s fantastic.

Sometimes they have Manchego at COSTCO for a relatively good price. Adding some membrilloto the plate would be good as well.

Interesting. So did you bake them instead of fry them then?

I’ll cast my vote for tortilla de patata as well. Probably the easiest thing you can make that the kids will actually eat. You could also do patatas aioli which is basically potato salad in garlic mayonnaise. Appealing to kids and easy to make and serve at a buffet.

I have always called it tortilla Espanol rather than tortilla de patata. Is that a regional thing?

Patatas Bravas! Yummy!

I came in to suggest Gazpacho- cheap, travels well, healthy, easy to make. Served in kid sized paper cups from a thermos flask- easy.

Came here to 2nd (3rd?) potato omelette (tortilla de patatas). I spent 5 weeks in Madrid and ate this for breakfast every morning on some fresh bread in a little bar near where I was working. It is awesome!