• VolleyballScience

Marinera, por favor!

We’ve been talking in the past articles about different aspects of Murcia. It is now the time to get to the serious business: food. Let’s get to the delicious part which needless to say that has its basis in the fresh vegetables grown on its own lands, often accompanied by meet from the animals raised in the local plateaus or seafood from its very own coastline.


image source: murciadiario.com


Before we start, I have the urge to clarify some aspects you probably wonder, and if you haven't so far, you will now: what is the difference between tapas and aperitivos?


Tapas are always served next to a drink, be it alcoholic or not, while aperitivos are like everywhere else, the starters before the main meal. Not totally confused yet? Well tapas can be aperitivos too!


It is believed tapas to have started from the old custom of accompanying, and more than that of covering (tapar) glasses of wine with a piece of bread or of jamon to prevent the flies or mosquitoes to serve the beloved drink from the inside of the glass. Tapas started to become a true Spanish identification mark as it is present everywhere from the little villages to the big metropolis and in fact, everywhere where the Spaniards are.


A small advice: on top of all the food you can shamelessly squeeze in lemon as no one would look weird at you, but quite the contrary. You are definitely not Murcian if you don’t like lemons, yet I can guarantee you that the lemons around here are very tasty so give it a try!


And now if you are brave enough, I invite you through the culinary fest of Murcia:


Tapas and aperitivos


Marinera


As it is the most beloved tapa among the volunteers I’d like to start with that. You can find it literally in every bar or restaurant here as it is most frequently served with bear (remember the Spanish passion for this refreshing beverage).


The process of preparing it is reaaaally complicated so prepare yourself for that: the base is a pastry type like pretzel on top of which you put a salad made with tuna, potatoes, olives and mayonnaise (similar to the Russian salad) and the cherry on top is nothing else but anchovy (in salt).


image source: directoalpaladar.com


There are 2 more variations of this tapa and those would be with anchovy prepared with vinegar, case in which the tapa becomes marinero or the simple version with the pretzel and the salad, known as bicicleta.


Pastel de carne murciano


Perhaps the most famous dish from here is coming from the Middle Ages, having its origins as Arabic. The puff pastry cake is filled with a mixture of beef meet, eggs, chorizo, ham, bacon, peppers and various spices.


image source: diariodegastronomia.com


Patatas con aceitunas, limon y pimiento


I have to say this was surprising for me but in the end very typical for this region if you think about the ingredients: potato chips, olives (preferably green), squeezed lemon on top (what did I tell you!) and pepper.


image source: forocoches.com


Ensalada murciana


Known as well as moje or mojete, this is a dish that could not miss from a vegetable area. It can easily be served as well as a main dish for the Fiestas de Primavera or the Feria de Murcia in September. Its ingredients are rather simple: boiled eggs, canned tuna, onion, chives, black olives, tomato sauce, olive oil and salt. The variations are as well in accordance to the own preferences so you can often find this made with cod fish instead of tuna.


image source: directoalpaladar.com


Main dishes


Zarangollo


It is an omelette type of dish that gathers besides the eggs, onion and zucchini and quite frequent potato or eggplant. Spices and herbs may be or not present as well.


image source: directoalpaladar.com


Arroz murciano


If there is something people around here really love that would include the rice for sure. Variations of paella (with its origin in Valencia) have spread their rice all around the country, each area adding its own typical products. It would perhaps be quite hard for you to guess but the arroz murciano has a generous base of vegetables to which pork meat (low fatted one) is added to intensify the flavour. Traditionally speaking it was made with seafood as meat.


The ingredients now: rice (doh!), pork meat, peppers, artichokes, beans, tomatoes, garlic. These can easily be interchanged with anything else you like.


image source: directoalpaladar.com


Michirones


A stew food with its main ingredients of beans, chorizo, ham, bacon, bay leaf, garlic, salt and other spices.


image source: directoalpaladar.com


Migas


An old variation of “put all in” not to throw food away, migas have as the main ingredient the dried bread that was dipped in water to get humid and thus to be able to cook it afterwards.


The base is quite simple with dried bread (can be of various types), tender and dried garlic, and then you can throw in whatever you like; a variation includes bacon, salchica and longaniza sausage, morcilla the blood sausage, flour, olive oil, water and salt.


image source: cocina-casera.com


Desserts


Paparajotes


A dessert with deep origins in the Arab cuisine that it used to always be present in the houses of the villagers. Nowadays it is more typical during the celebrations of spring. Paparajotes are made by covering the lemon leaves with dough of flour, milk, sugar and eggs, then fried and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.


Offering paparajotes to a foreign of the region is one of the oldest jokes Murcians do so make yourself a favour and take the leave out before eating it to avoid the fuss. You’re welcome.


image source: directoalpaladar.com


This is just a very small selection of foods that I like and that you can enjoy locally. If you’re a big fan of the seafood you’ll be in the gastronomic heaven around here. If you compete with the Asian population with eating rice, you just won a golden ticket to a rich experience. Well, I guess that if you just enjoy the food as it is, without being picky about it, I already won you as the fan of the food here.


Bon provecho!




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