There’s one question I have about this particular dish: Why is this not everywhere in Spain?! Having moved to Córdoba, the province where this beauty came from, I can totally understand why most restaurants have it on their menus. I have learned how to make them myself and would recommend anyone in Britain to give it a go at home. If you own a chippy in the Reading area, make them, drop me a line, and next time I’m visiting my parents, I’ll be your best customer for the number of weeks I’m there!
There are conflicting ideas on where it actually came from. Some believe it was from Jaén, others from Montilla, but the most common idea is from Bujalance, a village some 40km from Córdoba capital. It looks like a sausage in breadcrumbs, or a very long croquette, but what’s inside, trumps those two ideas. Essentially, it’s quite basic, literally serrano ham wrapped in pork loin, bread crumbed and deep fried. So not for vegetarians, nor somebody looking to keep an eye on their weight, nor for anybody with a small appetite. It’s probably one of the heaviest dishes in the south. Normally they are 15-20cm long, but as a result of competitive restaurants trying to outdo everybody else, flamenquines can be up to half a metre long! Challenge accepted.
And if that’s not enough, the vast majority come with chips and salad to make it a full-on meal. But its entirely down to how you or your friends and family like to go about it. Many people would have it to share, and many restaurants will serve this dish already sliced for that occasion, and prices range from 6-10€ depending on the size. My first experience of a flamenquín was in Tarragona in a tapas competition a few years ago, but the real deal in Córdoba was notably better. And most of the locals tell me that this is their favourite dish from these lands.
Like so many other things, flamenquines come in several varieties, and may be different in other parts of Andalusia. Chicken is sometimes substituted for the pork loin, and the filling is played with most often. A common variant is Roquefort cheese, more common in Sevilla, and I’ve had even weirder fillings like prawns, peppers, French omelet to name a few. All taste great, and even the name changes to flamenca to distinguish the difference from the original. But like Coca Cola, you can’t beat the original in my eyes.
So if you happen to be in the south of Spain and you are looking for a hearty meal to get you through the day, give this one a try. The locals love it, and whether you have it for lunch or dinner, you are not going to look out of place at all. There isn’t a restaurant where I have had a flamenquín and not liked it, and you’ll end up in a heated debate with somebody if you have a favourite place (Don Papa is my favourite, just saying). The best place to have this is Córdoba, and you can find it everywhere there. Maybe share it with everybody the first time, and selfishly have it for yourself the next, sometimes its just too good to share…