Many of the recipes here at Simple Spanish Food call for special ingredients such as pimentón, Calasparra rice, or ultra high-quality Spanish tinned goods such as Cantabrian anchovy fillets packed in olive oil. But you don't have to have special ingredients to cook the Spanish way. Here are five easy dishes you can make with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry and refrigerator--or at least at the neighborhood grocery.
The first, pictured above, is the Spanish omelet, or tortilla de patata. All you need to make it are a few eggs, a potato or two, an onion, some olive oil and salt. That's it. And it really is easy to make. See my recipe for tortilla de patata for the recipe and flipping technique.
Eggs and tomato sauce, huevos con tomate, is even easier. If you have a can of plum tomatoes, a clove or two of garlic, olive oil, a little red pepper, and eggs, you can make huevos con tomate. See my recipe for huevos con tomate for the recipe.
Empanadas are another one-dish meal or tapa you can make with things you probably already have in the house. Don't let the crust intimidate you. It's the easiest pastry crust ever. Making an empanada requires only flour, an egg, some olive oil, water, a little salt, and the filling of your choice, almost all of which can be made from readily available ingredients. True, the Galician-style empanada calls for a little saffron. If you don't have any, just leave it out. Your empanada will still be good. See my posts on empanadas for several easy recipes.
Tuna in tomato sauce, or bonito y tomate, is what we make when we've been traveling and come home to an empty refrigerator. Everything we need is already in the pantry: a can of tomatoes, a tin of tuna, a clove or two of garlic, a little hot pepper, olive oil, and rice. True, if you wanted to make a special bonito y tomate, you could use a quality Spanish paella-type rice and bonito del norte, but for an everyday meal, an ordinary short grain rice and a can of quality tuna will do.
The Spanish "Russian" Salad, or ensaladilla rusa, is another great one-dish meal. To make one you need only a potato or two, a carrot, a can of tuna (bonito del norte is best, but a decent can of tuna from the grocery will do), eggs, some English peas (frozen are fine) and a few strips of pimiento pepper--and some olive oil to whip up a Spanish-style mayonnaise dressing.
Ensaladilla rusa may be garnished with white asparagus and stuffed olives, but these are not strictly necessary. It's still good without them. See my post on Spanish Russian Salad for the recipe.