There are some ingredients that you can’t make authentic tasting food from a particular region without. In this post I delve into Spanish cooking and share with you 5 very important ingredients that you should stock up on if you are planning on experimenting with Spanish cooking. Spanish cooking relies on a lot of tomatoes, eggs, fresh garlic and olive oil amongst other things.
You need to make sure you have a decent and large bottle of olive oil. It is always a good idea to try and find a good olive oil that is either produced in Spain, Italy and France and one that is properly regulated so that you know you are going to get a good quality and level of flavour. It is wise to skip blended or light olive oils as they do not have the same level of flavour and the production of these types of olive oil is regulated less.
It is important that you make sure you have at least 2 full heads of garlic close to hand in your cupboards at all times when cooking Spanish dishes. If you are not as familiar with using garlic in cooking as I am, then you need to be sure to store it in a cool and dry place and before you start peeling and chopping it for a recipe, make sure it has not begun to sprout or dried out. If it has, you should just throw it away and buy fresh heads. Always look for solid and fresh heads, not ones that feel hollow or too light.
Paprika And Peppers
Pimento or Spanish paprika is a very prized ingredient when it comes to Spanish cuisine. It can be smoked or not, spicy or sweet. You will find sweet Spanish paprika in most upscale Spanish food stores and supermarkets. If you can’t find any for sale in your area, you should look online for it. If you use inferior paprika or non-Spanish paprika you will change the flavour and it will be less authentic as a result.
Chilli peppers or peppers are found in various regions throughout the Americas, but it was adopted into the Spanish diet hundreds of years ago. In Spanish it is used in various dishes, especially a large number that feature stuffed meats and fish. Spanish people also dry them and grind them down into a fine powder to make pimento or paprika that we spoke about above.
As eggs are an essential part of potato omelette and paella, it is a good idea to have a large supply of eggs, say about a dozen when you are on a Spanish culinary adventure. Many desserts in Spanish cuisine also require eggs.
Tomatoes And Tomato Sauce
Similarly to other Mediterranean people, Spanish people use and enjoy tomatoes in a variety of ways. Whether it is cooked or fresh, it is a good idea to have at least a couple of tins of chopped tomatoes, tomato purée; as well as fresh tomatoes in your fridge. Tomatoes are used in many Spanish dishes, such as Gazpacho, Patatas Bravas, and Romesco sauce. Having some canned tomatoes on hand is also a great way to give more flavor to a dish without too much effort.
These 5 essential ingredients are the foundation for most Spanish cooking and it’s worth stocking up your pantry with them before you start cooking so that you can get the best out of your recipes. Making sure you have these ingredients will ensure that your Spanish food turns out perfect each time! Enjoy your Spanish cooking adventure and feel free to experiment with these ingredients as much as you want and explore the flavors of Spain. Bon Appetite!