La comida, the large midday meal in Spain has several courses. Menus are organized according to these courses and usually include 5 or 6 choices in each course. At home, traditionally Spaniards would not eat “fancy” dishes on a daily basis, but would still enjoy a soup or pasta dish, salad, a meat and/or a fish dish and a dessert, such as fruit and/or cheese. It is very common to eat a simple green salad with the meat or fish courses.
Below is a list of the various courses you would enjoy during la comida and some typical dishes for each course, with links to the recipes:
Appetizers – Entrantes
Appetizers or entrantes might be a plate of Spanish Serrano ham, cheese or another of the cured meats and cheeses that are so popular in Spain. Although we think of tapas as appetizers, tapas would not be called entrantes even though sometimes some of the same dishes are eaten.
- Espárragos Blancos en Aceite y Vinagre – Asparagus in Oil & Vinegar
First Course – Primer Plato or Primero
This course could be many different dishes, a soup, or a vegetable dish like grilled asparagus, artichokes sautéed with ham, mushrooms, etc. This would be followed by second and third courses of meat or fish, and dessert.
Fish - Pescados
The next course may be fish or shellfish, such as clams or shrimp with sauce or rice, or grilled or baked fish. Spanish love all types of seafood and expect it to be fresh, no matter how far away from the coast. So, fish is eaten several times a week.
- Paella de Marisco – Seafood Paella (Step-by-Step with Photos)
- Fish and Clams in Wine Sauce
- Bacalao con Tomate – Cod Fish with Tomato Sauce
- Pescado Frito con Salsa de Cebolla – Fried Fish with Onion Sauce
- Urta a la Roteña – Baked Snapper a la Roteña
Meat - Carnes
In this course, any one of a variety of meats might be eaten, such as beef fillets filetes, fillet mignon - solomillo, steak - entrecot, roast lamb cordero asado or pork loin lomo de cerdo. In upper end restaurants, you may see game birds, such as quail - codorniz or partridge - perdiz on the menu.
- Paella Valenciana – Famous Valencian Rice Dish
- Cordero Asado – Roast Lamb
- Cochillo Asado – Roast Suckling Pig
- Fabada Asturiana – Asturian Bean and Sausage Casserole
- Estofado de Pollo – Spanish Chicken Stew
- Game Hen with Mushrooms and White Wine
- Caldereta de Cordero – Lamb Casserole
- Chuletas de Cerdo a la Madrilena - Pork Chops a la Madrilene
- Cocido Madrileno – Madrilene Stew
- Filetes Empanados, con Ajo – Breaded Beef Fillets
- Estofado de Conejo – Rabbit Stew
- Potaje de Garbanzos y Espinacas – Garbanzo and Spinach Soup
Dessert – Postre
If you aren’t full already, you’re ready for dessert. Typically, you will be offered fresh seasonal fruit, flan, several types of ice cream cakes, or ice cream. At the same time, espresso coffee will also be offered.