Essential products and dishes from Asturian cuisine

Asturian cuisine is one of the richest in Spain, with hundreds of recipes to eat at any time of year. Travelling to Asturias is a real pleasure, and more so with the idea of gastronomic tourism. But you have to be aware of the Principality: the dishes, no matter what they are, are always plentiful. It is a shame to make a trip and then discover that we have missed, for example, villages to see and, in this case, recipes and products to eat. With this list we are sure that you will not leave any of them behind.

Sidra

Asturian cider is a must in this community, made from apples. There are up to 500 types of this fruit in Asturias. Do not miss the opportunity to see how a real master tastes cider, to prove later on that it is not simple at all. To pour or escanciar cider means to serve it with an upright arm, falling from a striking height and breaking into the glass in the form of foam.

Throughout the Cantabrian Sea, along the A-8, the cider-making process begins in spring, when the apple tree flowers. Then the cider is transformed into the “llagar”. Traditional natural cider, new expression natural cider and sparkling cider have a Protected Designation of Origin. It is used to make many recipes, such as the hake in Asturian cider.

Cachopo

One of the best known dishes in Asturian cuisine is cachopo, which should never be confused with a San Jacobo. It is a large dish consisting of two breaded veal fillets stuffed with cheese and ham. The prestige surrounding this recipe did not come until the middle of the 20th century, when some restaurants in Oviedo and Grado included it on their menus.  Today it has spread from Ribadesella and Llanes to Gijón and the West. From the original recipe for cachopo, other more original recipes have emerged, filled with cecina, mushrooms, cheese, peppers… The best thing is to go for a shot and see the restaurants where you can try the best cachopo. 

Pitu de Caleya

Photo: lagrantaberna.es

Chickens that feed on seeds, corn and herbs are called pitu de caleya. This diet develops specimens of up to six kilograms in weight, as well as darker and less fatty meat. In stews, the meat is very tender and delights young and old alike. 

Fabada

Fabada is another essential dish in Asturian cuisine. This winter dish is perfect to warm up, but you have to eat it at midday, because a good fabada is easily a unique dish. The best ones are made with quality products, taking great care of the raw material. The white beans are one of the main ingredients along with the compango, that is, the bacon, the blood sausage and the chorizo.

Perhaps it is a dish that is too hearty to be eaten in summer, so there are lighter alternatives such as fabes with clams for the summer season. These stand out in ports such as Cudillero or Luarca. You can also prepare them at home or even make their healthier version. 

Pastel de cabracho

Pastel de cabracho, called tiñosu in Asturias, is a kind of fish pâté that is served as a starter in cider bars and restaurants, especially at Christmas. The scorpionfish has a meat that is reminiscent of seafood. It is a characteristic rock fish that the chef Juan Mari Arzak presented in the 1970s in the Basque Country. It is perfect for spreading with croutons. 

Fritos de pixín

The monkfish in Asturias is known as pixín and is another of the strong points of Asturian cuisine. We can find it elaborated in different ways: fried, with cider, with rice, in soup... Fritos de pixín are the most common way of eating them. They are prepared in small portions and are battered and then passed through the frying pan. Although it is eaten all year round, during Lent and Holy Week the recipe takes on greater importance, as gastronomic events are held that revolve around the monkfish.

Chorizo a la sidra

When going to a bar in Asturias, it is common to ask for a tapa of chorizo in cider, served in an clay pot. As we can see, cider is used to prepare many Asturian recipes. To make it, Asturian chorizos are cooked in cider. Sometimes they are served with boiled potatoes. Its popularity has made it already seen in bars from Madrid to Barcelona.

Bollos preñaos

Bollos preñaos are pieces of bread filled with chorizo or bacon. They are usually associated with summer, when they are most consumed during outdoor festivities. This recipe can be found in other provinces and communities of Spain such as La Rioja, León, Cantabria or Galicia. It is usually accompanied by cider or wine. The bollo preñao is perfect to taste at mid-morning in an Asturian bakery, as they prepare them in almost all of them.

Tortos de maíz

Photo: Marta Cuesta

It is impossible to get to know all the Asturian cuisine in a single trip, but we can try the best and most popular recipes. This is the case of tortos de maíz, a dough made with corn flour and then fried. They can have many ingredients on top, the most common being eggs and mince. 

Pote asturiano

Another of the most common dishes in Asturian cuisine in winter is the pote asturiano or cabbage stew. A traditional stew prepared in a pot called pote, where the name comes from. It was made during the slaughter season to withstand the colder months. Its main ingredients are fabes, cabbages, potatoes and the characteristic compango: chorizo and Asturian blood sausage, bacon, pig’s ear…

Asturian Cheeses

If there is a star product in Asturian cuisine, it is cheese. With 42 varieties of cheese, Asturias is a paradise for cheese lovers. Four of them have a Protected Designation of Origin: Afuega’l Pitu, Cabrales, Gamonedo and Casín. 

Cabrales cheese

Although the cabrales is more popular due to its strong taste and smell and its legion of followers, the others are not far behind either. Gamonedo cheese is made inside the Picos de Europa National Park, in towns such as Cangas de Onís or Covadonga. On the other hand, Afuega’l Pitu is a typical creamy cheese in areas such as Tineo. The main characteristic of Casín is that it is prepared only with exclusive milk from Casina cows. Los Beyos cheese has a Protected Geographical Indication. This way, the cheese is also present in many recipes, such as the escalopines al cabrales

Casadielles

Casadielles are one of the sweets that you can taste when you travel around Asturias. They are made in connection with different festivities, but they can be bought all year round in Asturian cake and confectionery shops. They are a kind of fried turnover made with flour dough filled with hazelnuts, nuts, aniseed and/or sugar. However, depending on the area of Asturias, the filling can be different. Finally, it acquires the form of a tube sealed at its ends with a fork. Sugar is sprinkled on top.

Carbayones

The name of carbayones is linked to the popularity of the Oviedo people, as this is where this rich sweet originated. These sweets are among the most popular in the region. The carbayones are made with eggs, almonds and sweet wine or cognac, and then bathed in syrup made with cinnamon, lemon juice and sugar. A real treat.

Frixuelos

Talking about carnival in Asturias is synonymous with frixuelos. They are made with a dough of milk, flour and eggs. They are also prepared in León. Nowadays it is common to serve them as a dessert in many restaurants all year round, with chocolate, cream, honey…

Moscovitas

Moscovitas are one of Oviedo’s best known biscuits, created by the Rialto bakery. They have become a symbol of Asturian confectionery. They are very fine chocolate and almond pastries that you have to be very careful with… If you start you can’t stop eating them. A great incentive for the pilgrims of the Primitive Way.

Arroz con leche

Arroz con leche is not an exclusive Asturian recipe. However, it was here that it became popular. In the old days, it was usual to burn rice in the charcoal kitchens of the houses, a sign of distinction of this dessert in Asturias. 


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