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Jul 29, 2007 11:21 AM

Moorish Influence of Spanish Cuisine

I was reading a great book I checked out from the Library last evening called The New Spanish Table and I became fascinated by those dishes listed as being deriven from the times during which the moors controlled Spain.

Is anyone familiar with certain dishes which could qualify and or historical information on this topic. Saffron - za'fran - arabic for yellow.

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  1. Pinchos morunos comes to mind - kind of a paradox, in a way since it's pork with Moorish spices, at least in name.

    1 Reply
    1. re: salutlemonde

      Yes! This was the very dish decribed in the book

    2. I'm not too personally familiar myself (yet!) with specific food info that could help you, but I highly recommend Penelope Casas' cookbook, The Food and Wines of Spain, for not only amazing recipes, but great information about the dishes, including historical stuff. Actually, all of her books are terrific. If you can't find it in the library, I can lend you my copy. Here's a link to the amazon page:

      Oh, and I just found a cool site with an "Ask Penelope" page which has some interesting info as well:

      1 Reply
      1. re: chocolateninja

        ... and you can buy most Spanish ingredients at La Tienda as well. I ordered Padron peppers from them once (in summer of course) and they were great.

      2. Of the Spanish cookbooks that I have, The New Spanish Table seems to devote most attention to this subject. There are 9 entries in index for Moorish.

        1. You'll find quite a lot of crossover - particularly in Andalucian cuisine. Not only do you have the old moorish influences on Spain, but Spain still colonises parts of Morocco.

          This is a pretty good cookbook that crosses over - from London restaurant owners Sam & Sam Clark:

          1. It should also be noted that well before moorish influence, Iberia had been subjected to plenty of North African and Easter Meditterranean influences. For example, Spain's distilling and wine making tradition including the Solera method come from Carthage aka Cartagena (modern day Tunisia). Even prior to that you have the Phoenicians making as much of an impact as the Greeks & Romans did.

            What I am trying to say is that even if Moorish is the label of choice used to describe Spain's culinary traditions that originated in North Africa, the Levant etc., you really can't dissassociate Spanish cuisine from those earlier influeces. In fact, I bet if you look at Spains most independent & indigenous cooking traditions like the Basque & Galician you will still find it impossible to restrict those influences.