Cooking with the Best Spanish Ingredients

iberico ham from spain

Le Gourmet Central

Today I’m highlighting some of the amazing products available from Le Gourmet Central. They’re an online store that sells world-class gourmet foods and specialty gifts. As a chef, I want to use the best products available, so I’m featuring a couple of the products they have available. They have ingredients from many cuisines, including the three Spanish ingredients I’m highlighting here.

Cinco Jotas Jamon

You can’t have a Spanish charcuterie plate without Jamon. Well, this is some of the best out there. The acorn-fed, 100% Ibérico ham from Cinco Jotas is some of the best I’ve ever had. While I do like to add cured ham to many of my dishes, with a product like this, I prefer to simply eat it by itself with some crostini and a little membrillo quince paste.

Sweet Spanish Paprika

By far, the spice that I use most is Pimentón. This Spanish paprika from El Angel is exclusively produced in the region of Extremadura, Spain, and made from the milling of different varieties of red peppers. While fantastic in traditional Spanish cuisine, I find that it can be incorporated in to almost any dish, especially when you’re looking to add a bit of that wood-fired flavor.

Piquillo Peppers

One of the ingredients I use in my romesco sauce are the Lodosa whole confitted Piquillo peppers by Rosara. The peppers are grilled under wood, peeled one by one by hand before being preserved in whole cane sugar and red wine. They have a sweet but intense peppery flavour and are ideal in snacks, tapas or in recipes where you would use roasted red peppers. If you’re not familiar with Piquillo peppers, you can find more info on the Le Gourmet Central website.

spanish piquillo peppers

Pecan & Piquillo Pepper Romesco Sauce

pimenton smoked paprika from spain

This is not a classic romesco sauce, but my spin on one. It can be argued that there’s no such thing as “authentic” or “traditional” anymore. I like to serve this version Mahon and Grits Croquettes. Let me know if you’re interested in that recipe. If you’d like to learn more about romesco sauce, I talked to Daniel Gritzer of Serious Eats about it on the Chefs Without Restaurants podcast.

Pecan & Piquillo Pepper Romesco Sauce

Pecans, chopped ½ cup

Garlic, chopped 2 cloves

Olive Oil ½ cup

Piquillo Peppers (jarred, drained) 1 cup

Crushed Tomatoes (canned) ½ cup

Sorghum 2 teaspoons

Sherry Vinegar 1 tablespoon

Pimentón 2 teaspoons

Ancho Chile Powder ½ teaspoon


Heat oil on medium in a medium sized pan. Add pecans and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and pimentón and cook for an additional minute. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.

Add the warm mixture and the remaining ingredients to a food processor.  Blend on medium speed until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed and the sauce has a slightly smooth texture.

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