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Key Ingredients In The Spanish Kitchen

Mar 23, 2015 03:44PM ● By Ryan Frisch

Having these key ingredients on hand will assist you in whipping up all kinds of fabulous dishes with a Spanish flair.


Grind almonds into a sauce or cake for added richness and depth. Marcona almonds have become very popular in the past few years. Enjoy them with drinks before dinner.


Take a break from local cheddar with blue-veined Cabrales or sheep’s milk Manchego. Quick and easy tapas, these cheeses are also good sprinkled on a salad.


A dry-cured sausage, chorizo has a delicious smoky flavor. Add slices to your tapas tray. Chopped into small pieces, chorizo is wonderful in paella and stews.

Fruit and honey

While they are wonderful for dessert, a touch of fruit and honey will also round out your favorite savory dishes. Serve cheese with fresh figs or dried apricots; add a dash of honey to your favorite sauce; or slice an apple into a salad or favorite vegetable stir-fry.

Jamón Iberico and Jamón Serrano

Considered to be among the finest hams in the world, these are not your ordinary lunchmeat—far from it! These salt-cured hams are perfect for a small bite before dinner.

Olives and olive oil

Spain is the world’s largest producer of olives and olive oil. Olive oil is used throughout the Mediterranean for cooking. Olives should be a must on your list of pre-dinner nibbles.


Sweet or smoky, peppers are a mainstay of Spanish cooking. You will find them in everything from traditional romesco sauce to paella and more. Use them fresh from the market or buy them roasted in a jar or tin.


This aromatic spice is a favorite throughout the Mediterranean. Saffron gives foods a rich golden color and has a wonderful slightly bitter, flowery taste. It is the world’s most expensive spice, but don’t worry, a pinch is all you need.

Sherry vinegar

Produced from sherry wine, this is a lovely vinegar for salads, sauces, and gazpacho. Light and slightly sweet, it has an interesting, complex taste.

Smoked paprika

Often considered the defining spice of Spain, pepper and smoke combine for a unique flavor. Add it to almost any dish for a hit of Spanish sunshine.

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