There’s no denying it – Spanish cuisine is finally getting its due in the spotlight. Celebrated chef José Andrés recently opened an Spanish marketplace in Manhattan’s Hudson Navy Yard development, dubbed “Little Spain”. Guests can shop select Spanish retail goods, or pick among a variety of restaurants, each focused on a classic Spanish dish: tortilla de patatas, paella, and more. The appeal of Spanish cuisine is clear: it is perceived as a congenial cuisine (as demonstrated by tapas to share), benefits from the health-aura of Mediterranean cuisine, and feels familiar due to its similarities to Italian cuisine.
Spanish cuisine has lot in common with Italian food: simple fresh ingredients, time-honored cheese and cured meat specialties, and plenty of olive oil. Our on-staff chef Josh has taken three classic deli dishes and given them a Spanish twist. Interested in some personalized menu ideation? Reach out to him at email@example.com.
What is Romesco?
Romesco Sauce is a classic of Spanish cuisine hailing from the Mediterranean region of Catalonia, on the north-east tip of Spain. This boldly-flavored sauce relies heavily on three ingredients: local dried ñora peppers, tomatoes, and a blend of almonds and hazelnuts. It is often served with seafood, but it’s also perfect tossed with pasta.
Vantia Whole Italian Tomatoes, Vantia Sun-Dried Peppers, Vantia Roasted Red Peppers, Almonds, Olive Oil, garlic, Moscatel Vinegar, Fresh Garlic, Salt, Pepper, Maese Miguel Manchego.
Why does this dish work?
Romesco is a chunky sauce that’s best paired with short pasta shapes full of ridges and hollows. We picked radiatori – it’s many groves are perfect to catch and trap bits of sauce. Suitable alternatives would be fussili, gemelli, or penne rigate. Since it’s similar to Pesto Rosso, Romesco won’t scare of customers, while still offering something out of the ordinary. Using an aged Manchego as an alternative to Pecorino Romano or Parmesan adds a nice Spanish touch.
What makes Serrano Ham and Chorizo special?
Simply put, Serrano Ham is the prosciutto of Spain. Serrano ham is firmer and drier than prosciutto, and often a bit darker. The fabrication process is identical: a pig leg, lard, salt, and time. The main difference between the two is flavor, as Serrano ham has a bolder flavor than sweet prosciutto. Musco Food offers Serrano ham by family-run Espuña, which reserves its sweetest, mildest hams for the American market.
Chorizo is a dry sausage typical from the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal). Chorizo is characterized by an intense red color and uneven distribution of fat. The use of smoked paprika, a dried pepper powder, gives the red color and particular flavor to the sausage, which can be either mild or hot. The quality of the paprika is key to the overall chorizo quality. Palacios Chorizo for example uses paprika made with Pimentón de la Vera, a D.O.P. pepper grown in the Extremadura region of Spain. Pimentón de la Vera Paprika is made by drying and smoking the pepper over smoldering oak wood, thus imparting the spice with a smoky flavor and rich color. You’ll taste the difference in their Chorizo!
From the bottom’s up: Vantia Roasted Red and Yellow Peppers, Arugula, Licini Chorizo Slices, Licini Serrano Ham, Maese Miguel Manchego, sliced fresh tomatoes, mayonnaise flavored with smoked paprika.
What is alioli?
You may have heard of aioli, the Provençal garlic mayonnaise spread made with olive oil, egg yolk, garlic and lemon juice. Alioli is simply the Spanish version of aioli. Traditionally, Spanish Alioli is made with two ingredients – garlic and olive oil. However, you can easily prepare a faux version by mixing mayonnaise with lemon juice and fresh or dried garlic. For extra flavor and color, bolster it with lemon juice and whatever herbs you have on hand: parsley, dill, tarragon all work well.
Why the dish works:
Classic Tuna salads can be scorned by health-conscious customers. By using a small amount of a flavor-packed Alioli (the Spanish aioli!), your tuna salad will remain moist, and will be more attractive to customers who want something a little different. Plenty of lemon juice and tangy sun-dried peppers make sure the salad is bright and flavorful.
Flott Tuna Chunks in Olive Oil, Diced Tomato, Vantia Sun Dried Peppers, Shallots, Alioli with fresh herbs, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Salt, Pepper.