Perhaps one of the more striking differences between Spanish cuisine and delicate Anglo-Saxon tastes is to be found in the local carnicería, where chicken feet hang snugly alongside pig’s trotters and liver and kidneys glisten proudly below.
A glance at a standard tapas menu shows an equal commitment to using every last inch of an animal’s flesh, from pig’s ear to ox tail to blood sausage to sherry-doused kidneys. Spain’s is a food culture that embraces the bits that we from more northerly climes tend to shun.
For all this country’s pretensions at fancy pinchos and Michelin stars, this is where the real heart of Spanish cooking lies: in the innards, intestines and, indeed, hearts of their farmyard beasts. Nowhere is this more true than in Madrid itself, where you’ll find its trademark dish of callos—slippery tripe hidden in an unassuming tomato sauce—or the near-forgotten gallinejas y entresijos, which once formed the base of the capital’s dinner.
So, in search of a hit of Madrileño tradition and culture, I headed to Freiduría de Gallinejas, Embajadores 84 to munch on innards and take a step back to a time when each part of the animal was valued, and squeamishness just didn’t get a look in.