Apart from the large variety of tapas and pinchos that are popular in any restaurant in Spain, you can also find a wide selection of sandwiches (we call them bocadillo or bocata) which are made using a single serving size bread cut lengthwise.
(sigh) Spanish bread... is it possible to have a love-hate relationship with a type of food ?... well I do. I love this bread so much that I would eat it even on its own without any filling. However, after eating it my stomach get bloated then reminds me why I hate it so much.
Nevertheless, I found my solution to my bread craving when I purchased My Paleo Patisserie, a beautiful and inspirational cookbook created by Jenni Hulet from The Urban Poser. This cookbook is far and away one of the best Paleo baking cookbooks to date for beginners (like me) and for pros, willing to make the most their bakery creativity.
My Paleo Patisserie is full of mix-and-match recipes, such as cakes, pie crusts, cookies, tarts, glazes and frostings so that you can make hundreds of unique combinations. The possibilities are endless!
To make the bread for my Spanish bocadillos adaptation, I used the eclairs recipe. Yep, you read it right; eclairs.
I slightly changed the recipe to turn these French sweets to my own Spanish savoury sandwich by adding some fresh rosemary and garlic. The aroma of the fresh baked bread brought me back to my childhood when I spent my summer holidays in our Andalusian house. Every morning I went to buy fresh bread from the baker’s shop just because I loved the smell that came from the shop’s oven.
While my fresh baked breads were cooling down, I prepared all the food to make my favourite Spanish tapas sandwiches.
The 5 most traditional and popular sandwiches tapas in Spain
1. Bocadillo de calamares | Fried squid rings. Traditional in the capital of Spain; Madrid, this sandwich is probably the one that takes the most effort to make as the squid needs to be coated in breadcrumbs, battered and then fried in olive oil. The result is spectacular and totally worth it.
In my own version of gluten free squid sandwich, I used gluten free breadcrumbs. Please note though, this sandwich in any bar in Spain will not be gluten free.
2. Bocadillo de Jamon Serrano | Cured ham. This one will never be missing from any bar. The quality of ham varies depending on the type of the ham used. If you visit Spain, I highly recommend a Bellota Ham along with a glass of red wine. Such a heavenly taste !... it’s also traditional to add to the bread and ham some tomato. However, depending on what part of Spain you are in, the tomato might be sliced or, the catalan way, rub the face of a cut tomato across both parts of the bread.
I must say that after this photo was taken, this sandwich was eaten by S, as it is well known by everyone that I am a self-declared tomato hater. I hate them so much that I still don’t know how I could manage to spread the tomato over the bread. Oh yes that’s right; I’m a professional food photographer!
3. Bocadillo de chorizo | Smoked or spicy chorizo. There’s nothing easier to make and more tastier than a chorizo sandwich. They are very popular in the North of Spain, in cities like Pamplona or Leon where the very best chorizo come from. To make it even more tasty, cut some Manchego cheese into triangular shapes and place on top of some thin slices of chorizo, then heat up until the cheese melts.
4. Bocadillo vegetal | Vegetarian. Many Spaniards will be surprised to see this dish on a top#5 list, as it is not be the most popular bocadillos in Spain. However it makes my short list because they are on of my favourites, and, well it is my list! They are special to my because my friend J and I would always make them to take on a picnic in some park of Barcelona every Saturday!
For this gluten free version, combine chopped lettuce, a can of tuna, a boiled egg, finely chopped, some olives and then mix all with handmade Paleo mayonnaise. Oh, and don’t hesitate to add some tomato, if you desire.
5. Pepito de ternera | Beef sandwich. This hot sandwich is one of the oldest Spanish tapa sandwiches. They say the first Pepitos were originally served in Madrid at the beginning of the XX’s century. It’s made with just two ingredients, fried fillet of beef (normally sirloin cut) and thin slices of garlic. The juices from the meat soaked in to the bread to give it is very special taste.
Tip. For extra flavour, add some fried green pepper. If fact - there is another popular sandwich called Serranito which consists of sliced cured ham, pork loin and fried pepper.
Have you ever tried one of these Spanish sandwiches? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts!
Rosemary and garlic flavoured Paleo bread
Make a batch of these rosemary and garlic flavoured Paleo bread and surprise your guests with these 5 traditional Spanish tapas sandwiches without having to leave your kitchen.
Makes 8 large breads (5 in./12.75 cm long and 1 in. / 2.5 cm wide)
1 cup / 120 gr. tapioca flour
2 tbsp. coconut flour
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 pinch of salt
1/3 (65 gr.) Trex butter (In the UK), palm shortening (US)
1 cup (120 ml.) full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup (60 ml.) water
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg plus 1 tbsp. water, for the egg wash
Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F. Grease and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Mark your bread lengths by drawing two sets of parallel lines lengthwise on the parchment paper. (5 in./12.75 cm long and 1 in. / 2.5 cm wide. Space them at least 2 in. / 5 cm apart)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the tapioca flour, coconut flour, rosemary, garlic and salt. Then, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, coconut milk and water.
Once the butter has melted, continue to heat the mixture until a few bubbles break the surface, but don’t let it boil.
Remove from the heat then pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Stir immediately, stirring slowly at first to incorporate the flour, then vigorously until the mixture forms a soft blob of dough.
Transfer the dough to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Stir on low speed for about a minute to cool it down. Meanwhile, beat one of the eggs in a small bowl and set aside.
Turn the mixer up to medium speed and add one egg at a time to the dough, beating each egg before adding it. Allow each egg to be completely combined before adding the next, as the dough will break or separate with each addition.
After adding the first three eggs, increase the mixer speed and beat for about a minute or until it is smooth. Add move beaten egg a little at a time until the dough is creamy looking. Test the consistency of the dough by taking a little bit dough between your index finger and thumb. It should be like a chewing gum.
Using a large pastry bag fitted with 1 in. (2.5 cm) plain tip, pipe the mixture into 5 in./12.75 cm long. Space them about 2 in. (5 cm) apart on the prepared baking sheet. Use smooth, upward movements as you pipe. As you finish each bread shell, release pressure and pause for a moment before lifting the tip away.
Prepare an egg wash by whisking 1 large egg and 1 tablespoon of water. Using a pastry brush, coat gently the piped dough with a thin layer of egg wash. Use a dampened finger to smooth out an bumps in the dough, but down press down the dough.
Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 175 C / 350 F and bake for 20 to 25 minutes further, until the breads are puffed, golden and firm to the touch.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Once they are cool enough to manage, cut lengthwise and feel free to fill them with any Spanish foods you desire!
Recipe adapted from My Paleo Patisserie. Tips by Jenni Hulet.