The ever-popular traditional bocadillo has been given a modern twist with foodie garb. If it was once underrated, now it is a gourmet creation of the highest level. Paradores is leading this change with a new menu in cafeterias, where it updates the suggestions “Entre 2 panes (Between 2 loaves of bread)” with informal formulas that border on perfection.
The sandwich is a concept of overwhelming simplicity. Two loaves of bread between which there is room for as many ingredients, hot or cold, as our imagination can conjure up. Gastronomically, we have to surrender to the evidence. It is a masterstroke that solves infant snacks, meals on excursions, snacks at work and the many situations in which hunger meets laziness.
Once it is rooted as a habit starting with the mythical children’s snacks, it is impossible to eradicate it. That is why in Spain there is no café, shop or bar without it available to the public. To our fast-food patriotism, that label has always fallen short. Something so typical of Spain, so Spanish, as the Paradores Catering Department points out, has the key to pleasing everyone: top quality ingredients which include “many good things, such as cured meats, preserves or traditional stews”.
The evolution of the cuisine has not killed this popular snack. On the contrary, it has become a foodie totem to experiment with products, textures and flavours, invading the temples of gastronomy with little modesty. It is becoming more and more common to come across novel ingredients such as Iberian secreto ibérico, wasabi mayonnaise or steak tartare itself, to name but a few. A revolution on the move.
Since the first experiments as a child, the sandwich or bocadillo has always encouraged the desire to play when it comes to mixing products, to a greater or lesser extent. It is the best canvas for new combinations and daring fusions. However, as there is no creation without order, there are certain codes to bring it to fruition.
The first, so obvious, is to give our daily bread the importance it deserves. And it is a lot. We can escape the routine and use alternative cereal breads, such as spelt, with toppings of seeds or nuts. This is where it is at stake whether this is a good bocadillo or not. No matter how excellent the filling ingredients are, with a mediocre bread we will spoil the entire sandwich.
But what on earth do we put between those two loaves of bread? It is best to keep in mind the advantages of simplicity. Don’t overload the filling, too many flavours together can cancel each other out. As with pizzas, less is more if you have good products.
Beyond cured meats and cheeses, why not look for new ideas? As a starting point, we can choose a classic, traditional sandwich, change the bread and add a new ingredient as a catalyst for the experience. As Paradores say, “a bocadillo can be made with anything… meat, fish or vegetables. The only thing you have to do is update the recipe and invest in the raw material”.
Paradores, a benchmark in the Spanish hotel and catering industry, has introduced a more informal gastronomic offer in its cafeterias and terraces, but with the excellence it is known for. As novelties in a menu designed to meet the most current demands, there are representative products of our gastronomy (Productos con Identidad – Products with Identity), salads and cold creams (100 % natural), tapas (Del territorio – From the territory) and, of course, the best sandwiches (Entre 2 panes – Between 2 loaves of bread).
The chain has bet on dignifying this proposal, with formulas which work perfectly. As an example, they have rescued “traditional stews to serve between loaves of bread. Thus, at the Parador of Cádiz, we propose a brioche of oxtail to go with pico de gallo. These are classic dishes we have adapted to make our bocadillos. We also have some magnificent vegetable sandwiches with seasonal products, updated to suit the tastes of our customers”.
As gourmet snacks, the most traditional recipes are also taken to unprecedented levels of quality. There is the emblematic bocadillo of Iberian cured ham or jamón ibérico and the extra virgin olive oil (AOVE) and the Serranito (English muffin bread – mollete in Spanish – with loin, tomato, ham and peppers) How is it possible to surprise with something so well known? “We always use the best raw materials and we look for novelties in the bread we use. And this is noticeable when people see it and try it”, explain the people in charge of catering at Paradores.
Nothing can go wrong when there is tons of work behind it and good foundations. Before offering these products, the Chain has carried out a laborious process of research to come up with master formulas, without weaknesses or oversights. Therefore, to come up with the Brioche of oxtail, pico de gallo and coriander mayonnaise, they opted for carefully boned meat and a brioche as the bread where the product could give its best. And, as always, Paradores hit the nail on the head.