Barcelona Cult Recipes, written by Stephan Mitsch, features 120 favorite Catalan dishes from every corner of Barcelona. Highlights include Coca (Savory Flatbreads), Capdells amb Cabrales al Forn (Baked Lettuce Hearts with Cabrales), Calçots (Grilled Spring Onions), Sangría de Cava, Mel i Mató (Cream Cheese with Honey), Croquetas amb Chorizo (Croquettes with Chorizo), and more. I will also be sharing his recipe for Ous Estrellats (Huevos Estrellados, Fried Eggs and Potatoes) following the review. Looking for more cult recipes? Check out my reviews for Los Angeles Cult Recipes and Istanbul Cult Recipes.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Murdoch Books in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Stephan Mitsch moved to Barcelona in 2000 and has been working as a tour guide with a focus on culinary specialties. He is the author of multiple travel guides and books about the city.
Barcelona Cult Recipes
Chapters are divided based on course: Tapas, Main Dishes, Desserts, Drinks, and Basics. The index is also categorized for easy reference with lists of the Catalan, Spanish, and English names and main ingredients.
Stephan begins with a brief introduction on the city of Barcelona. Little bits of information are scattered among the pages with a closer look at the dining culture and history surrounding the food. For those wanting to visit the city, he has included a map at the end of the book with a mini guide to notable restaurants, markets, and shops.
The photography is provided by Arnold Pöschl. Every single recipe is accompanied by a half to full page photo of the finished dish or notable ingredient. You will also find a few of Barcelona’s people, landscapes, and food. Each recipe includes a short headnote with background information, inspiration, serving size, preparation and cooking time, and tips. The titles are written in Catalan, Spanish, and English. Measurements are listed in Customary and Metric.
This book is a great pick for those interested in the cuisine of Barcelona. Recipes range from simple tapas to intricate desserts and everything in between. Having a market available with Spanish and Catalan ingredients will be helpful in locating items such as Iberian ham, sobrassada (Mallorcan spreadable sausage), snails, manchego cheese, bacalao, arroz bomba (short-grain rice), blackcurrants, quail eggs, fresh seafood, squid ink, pimentón de la vera (semi-hot paprika), chorizo criollo sausage, saffron, anchovies in vinegar, piquillo peppers, padrón chillies, and more.
Ous Estrellats (Fried Eggs and Potatoes)
I was immediately drawn to the Ous Estrellats in the Tapas chapter. Ous Estrellats (Huevos Estrellados, Fried Eggs and Potatoes) is a delicious and hearty dish that comes together in less than 30 minutes with just a handful of ingredients. This particular recipe from ‘Vermutería Lou‘ won a prize in the 2014 Barcelona tapas competition and for good reason.
Diced (or cut into chips or fries) potatoes are fried in plenty of olive oil until golden, then topped with a gently fried egg, thin slices of Iberian ham, and a sprinkle of salt. The still runny yolk is broken and soaked up by the tender potatoes underneath.
I also made Pan amb Tomaquet (Pan con Tomate, Bread with Tomato), Gambas al Ajillo (Prawns in Garlic Sauce), Patatas al Pobre (Poor Man’s Potatoes), and Torradetes de Santa Teresa (Torrijas con Vino, Drunken French Toasts).
Pan amb Tomaquet (Bread with Tomato) is one of my favorite Catalan dishes. It is such a great use of leftover tomatoes and bread. Slices of rustic white bread are toasted, rubbed with garlic, then rubbed with the inside part of a halved tomato. The toasted exterior of the bread acts a bit like a grater to help break down the tomato. Before serving, drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt for a quick and delicious snack.
Gambas al Ajillo (Prawns in Garlic Sauce) is another popular tapas dish and comes together quickly. Sliced garlic and chilies are gently fried in olive oil, then tossed with shrimp until just cooked through. It is served immediately with a pinch of salt and slices of bread.
Stephan recommends this Patatas al Pobre (Poor Man’s Potatoes) as an accompaniment to a variety of fish and meat dishes. Slices of potatoes are pan-fried until tender and tossed with onions, bell peppers, and garlic. The dish is seasoned simply with salt and a bit of vinegar.
The desserts chapter is filled with plenty of rich and decadent recipes. I chose to make these Torradetes de Santa Teresa (Drunken French Toasts). Usually served the Holy Week before Easter, Semana Santa, thick slices of stale white bread are dipped in a sweetened milk mixture with vanilla cinnamon, lemon, and wine, then coated in whisked eggs, and fried in olive oil until golden. Before serving, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and drizzle with a little more wine.
Ous Estrellats (Fried Eggs and Potatoes) Recipe
Excerpt from Barcelona Cult Recipes
Ous Estrellats (Fried Eggs and Potatoes)
- Plenty of olive oil
- 4 potatoes cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) dice or into chips (or fries)
- 4 very fresh eggs
- Iberian ham cut into thin strips
Fry the Potatoes:
- Heat plenty of olive oil in a deep frying pan or casserole dish over very high heat. Add the potatoes and fry for 2 minutes over high heat. Reduce the temperature and cook the potatoes for another 5-6 minutes. Increase the temperature again and cook for another 2 minutes until the potatoes are golden brown. Drain the potatoes on paper towel and season with salt.
Fry the Eggs:
- Heat plenty of olive oil in another frying pan. Crack the eggs and slide into the pan. Fry, continually basting with hot olive oil. The idea is to have the egg whites set fully while keeping the egg yolks beautifully runny.
- Divide the potatoes among four ceramic bowls. Slide 1 egg on top of each. Season the eggs with a little salt and top with strips of ham. Serve immediately. Alow the hot egg yolks to burst over the potatoes, if preferred.