On my first visit almost ten years ago I gained 6lbs in 10 days which for me is a pretty substantial gain. I achieved this through a combination of Iberico ham, Manchego cheese, alot of tapas (particularly calamari and patatas bravas) and the discovery of a delightful patisserie at the top of Las Ramblas.!
Although it was pretty unhealthy the gain that much weight so quickly I lost the weight without too much difficulty when I got home. However one client who lived in Barcelona had to face this delicious array of unhealthy foods daily. So how do you avoid gaining weight when faced with a menu high in saturated fat and fried potatoes?
The key to this is to not combine high GI carbohydrates (potatoes, white rice, bread, pasta) with saturated fats (ham, cheese, red meat, butter, cream, fried foods) in the same meal. So that means sadly no Spanish tortilla, patatas bravas, fried calamari and white bait. If you're eating tapas you can either avoid the carbs and enjoy the meats, cheese and vegetable dishes OR avoid the fats, so no meat and cheese dishes and go for vegetables, salads, paella rice and non-battered fish or seafood such as gambas.
I asked my Barcelona client for a healthy Catalan recipe and having initially said there weren't any she suggested escalivada which could be served as an appetiser or light snack. I'm guessing this recipe would serve approx 4 (afraid haven't had a chance to try it out):
3 red peppers
2 small onions
1 jar of anchovies
1 tin or jar of black olives without stones (optional)
A loaf of rustic bread (use a fresh wholemeal unsliced loaf)
1. Clean the peppers and aubergines and peel the onion.
2. Put the vegetables (peppers, aubergines and onions) on a baking tray and put it into a pre-heated oven (the recipe doesn't suggest temperature but I'd guess 150degrees c).
3. When the ingredients are soft and toasted on the outside, take them out (normally after 40-60mins).
4. Put to the side to cool. Peel the vegetables and slice them length ways. Be sure to remove the seeds from the peppers.
5. Toast a few slices of the rustic bread.
6. Put the slices of bread on a dish. Place a couple of slices of each vegetable on the toast and top with some anchovies (and, if you want, black olives).
7. Drizzle some olive oil on top and sprinkle with salt to taste.
8. Eat and enjoy!