What's With the Lack of Fresh Ingredients in Spain?

I went to Spain with high hopes of fresh, flavorful food, but was disappointed at how little fresh ingredients were used in the cuisine. Though the popular potato, eggs and cured meat dishes were good, I was surprised at the lack of veggies, considering how great their markets were - and how canned seafood was chosen over fresh at many restaurants (even in coastal cities). Any trace of vegetables were either fried to a crisp, or covered in some sort of creamy sauce.

I thought Spanish food was all about fresh ingredients. What's the deal?

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