Valencian cuisine: discover the best summer dishes
The Region of Valencia has a rich gastronomy that evolves with the seasons. Discover a list of the best local dishes that are ideal for a hot summer’s day.
The temperatures are rising in the Mediterranean, summer produce is starting to appear in the shops and our palates are craving fresh, zingy and tasty dishes. Valencian cuisine evolves with the seasons, serving up flavoursome recipes that will delight your taste buds throughout the year; and the summer is no exception.
If you are planning a foodie getaway to the region, you’ll want to know which dishes you simply can’t miss. Keep reading to discover the classic summer dishes served in the Region of Valencia that you should absolutely seek out.
Summer valencian cuisine
Esgarrat and escalivada
Esgarrat and escalivada are two very similar recipes that differ in terms of a couple of ingredients. Low in calories and rich in fibre and vitamins, these cold dishes are served with a slice of toasted homemade bread. So what exactly are they?
One of the most popular valencian dishes, esgarrat (or esgarraet) is essentially a cold grilled red pepper salad served with salted cod, garlic and quality extra virgin olive oil. The dish is named after the way the cod and pepper are gently pulled apart by hand, rather than being sliced with a knife.
Escalivada, on the other hand, is made of aubergine, pepper, onion and roasted tomato. Tuna, anchovies and salt-cured tuna are also commonly added, depending on the tastes and preferences of the chef and diners. All in all, esgarrat and escalivada are fresh dishes that pack a punch of flavour.
Titaina is a classic dish that defines the Cabanyal-Canyamelar district of València. To make titaina, you’ll need red pepper, tomato, pine nuts and tonyina de sorra (sand tuna). It’s easy to make. Put the pepper in the oven and when it’s soft fry it with the tomato for a couple of minutes. Then combine with the rest of the ingredients and leave to rest for the flavours to fuse. The dish can be eaten both hot and cold.
Meaning ‘Valencian salad’, ensalada valenciana is a dish that makes an appearance on every dining table during the summer months. Named after the produce sourced from the Valencian huerta, the salad combines lettuce, tomato, onion and often sliced olives and hard-boiled egg, and is dressed with olive oil and a pinch of salt. You can also add tuna, salt-cured tuna and anchovies to enhance the flavour. This simple and humble recipe makes the perfect lunch for a hot summer’s day.
Salpicón de marisco
A zingy dish that is bursting with the flavours of the Mediterranean. Mussels, octopus and other seafood are shredded into small pieces and combined with vegetables such as red and green peppers. The final touch? A tasty dressing added just before serving and a glass of chilled white wine. A taste sensation.
Fideuá de Gandia
Although rice is undisputedly the favourite ingredient in the Region of Valencia, you can’t overlook fideuá. Originally from the seaside town of Gandia, this pasta dish is the perfect centrepiece for lively lunches with your friends and family. To make it you’ll need a flavoursome fish stock and quality ingredients including red prawns from Dénia, shrimps from Gandia, monkfish and fideos del nº 3 (a short pasta). Fideuá is a dish that really flaunts the finest flavours of the Mediterranean.
To round off a delicious lunch, stave off the heat or fill a hole in the afternoon, there is nothing better than a horchata. This delicious drink is made from tiger nuts grown in Alboraya and is affectionately known as liquid gold. The sweet taste of the tiger nuts is hard to put into words; the best thing is to order a chilled glass and try it for yourself. If you fancy, you can also get a couple of fartons (a pastry similar to an iced bun) to dip into the drink. The perfect combination in the summer.
This list has only just scratched the surface of the delicious summer dishes you can enjoy in the Region of Valencia. There are hundreds of local delicacies up and down the region which are ideal for hot days. Come along and treat your palate to some truly exquisite cuisine.