A parrillada, as it is known in Spain, is a barbecue and is sometimes referred to as a barbacoa. The word parrillada is actually used in most Spanish-speaking countries; however, you will also hear parrilla and asado. A parrillada in Spain is similar to those prepared in Argentina and the rest of Latin America, with one big exception—In Spain, it's not just about the meat. Fish, shellfish, and vegetables are popular on the braza, and are grilled just as often at parrilladas in Spain.
Two Parrillada Menus
The two menus below are all appropriate for warm summer weather and eating "al fresco." Both menus provide several dishes for each course—Tapas, First Course, Main Course and Dessert, or in Spanish Tapas, Primer Plato, Plato Principal, and Postre. Pick and choose, mix and match as you wish. There is no right or wrong way to throw a parrillada, with the exception that there should be plenty of food to go around! Following the two menus are drink suggestions.
The idea for Menu 1 is to allow you the most time to socialize with your guests by picking dishes that can be prepared ahead of time. Except for meat grilling on the barbecue, which needs attention, all the dishes are make-ahead and are cool summer fare.
For Menu 2 we picked some very traditional Spanish dishes from start to finish. Although much of the food may be prepared ahead of time, there are several dishes which should be served immediately after cooking, with most of the other dishes served warm.
Menu 1 - Easy, Make-Ahead Spanish Menu
- Spanish Melon with Serrano Ham (Melon con Jamon Serrano)
- Spanish Grilled Eggplant with Tomato Vinaigrette
- Roasted Red Peppers in Oil, Vinegar, and Garlic
Menu 2 - Traditional Spanish Parrillada Menu
- Top 6 Lamb Chops Recipes
- How to Roast Peppers and Chiles Under a Broiler Step-by-Step with Photos
- Spanish Patatas Bravas
- Spanish Mixed Green Salad - Ensalada Mixta
- Easy Spanish Flan with Caramel Sauce or Different Flavors of Spanish Flans (orange, coffee, strawberry, blueberry cheesecake, and more)
- Churros (Cinnamon Sugar Fried Doughnut Sticks)
Regardless of which Spanish dishes you choose to serve, cold drinks are important. Traditional drinks at a Spanish gathering include:
- Mineral Water–carbonated or still
- Spanish Red Wine–Rioja or Ribera regions both have excellent choices to pair with grilled meats and seafood
- Cafe Con Leche–someone will always want to end the meal with coffee.
In addition to water and wine, you may choose to serve Spanish Sangria, Tinto de Verano, a Spanish wine cocktail, or claras, also known as "lemon beer," a refreshing drink made with cold beer and soda or lemonade.
After dinner drinks usually include espresso coffee and Spanish Sherry Brandy (Brandy de Jerez).