Whether you’re a longterm admirer of Spanish cuisine, or you’ve had your tastebuds enlivened by your very own Sitges home chef, there’s a few things you’re going to need to keep in the kitchen. We’ve asked our chefs about the key ingredients their home kitchens can’t do without, and here’s what they had to say.
You might want to dress a salad, drizzle a little bit on your meat, or finish off a fish dish. No matter what you have in mind, olive oil makes it happen. Every Sitges home chef will be able to tell you where they got their most recent batch of oil, because it’s so integral to the way they cook.
People often think that Spanish cuisine is as spicy as Mexican food, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you want to create some authentic Spanish flavour at home, then a blend of paprika and dried ground sweet peppers are just what you need.
If you want to add colour as well as flavour and aroma to your dishes, then saffron is perfect. It’s one of the key ingredients for a paella, but it does cost rather a lot. Don’t let this worry you though. It comes in tiny servings, and a little pinch will go a long way.
These are one of the most popular ingredients right across Spain. They come either jarred, canned, or salted, with each one possessing a unique flavour. This makes them a great way to season main meals, dress salads, or breathe some fresh life into your homemade tapas.
Fresh garlic and onions
If you can find a dozen recipes that don’t use garlic and onions, then our Sitges chefs will love to hear about them! These two ingredients are virtually ubiquitous, and with good reason. For best results buy fresh, and preserve the flavour by finding a cool spot out of direct sunlight for storage.
There are so many types of Spanish ham out there to choose from, but always go for something thinly sliced. This gives you a whole host of choices; from tapas and a standalone snack, to the tastiest side dish you’ve ever tried.
Lots, and lots of herbs
No Spanish recipe would be complete without ample helpings of freshly picked herbs. Parsley, rosemary, oregano and bay leaves are all regularly used. As are peppercorns if you want to be able to take your home cooking to the next level. There are so many different varieties out there, that it may be worth buying a rack and a full set of herbs right from the get go. That way you’ll always have the perfect finishing touch as you experiment in the kitchen.
If you want a symphony of flavour that you can add to a whole variety of dishes, then chorizo sausage is always a wise choice. If you can’t find the Spanish version, don’t opt for the Mexican alternative as it comes raw and loose, and will require plenty of cooking.