Bring the rich flavors of Spain into your own kitchen with this diverse roundup of traditional and modern regional dishes. From chicken paella to tomato gazpacho, we've selected recipes that embody the essence of a country known for its unique cuisine.
In our first paella, it's important to remember that the one part of this classic dish that should never change is the socarrat—the crisp browned rice on the bottom of the pan. The crust won't form until all of the liquid from the clams and the tomatoes has boiled off, so be patient with that last step; it's worth it.
Grilling adds a smoky dimension to Spain's favorite summertime soup. The trick is to grill the veggies over a screaming-hot fire, just long enough to char the exterior while leaving the vegetables raw in the center.
"Paella may sound like something fancy, but it is a humble dish, made from ingredients that are fresh and healthy," says star chef José Andrés, whose restaurants in Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, and California helped spark America's celebration of Spanish cuisine. The classic Spanish rice dish is a crowd-pleaser in his celebrated restaurants and at home. The heat for this paella starts high and reduced gradually, making the rice perfectly al dente and then crisping it at the bottom.
Dried chickpeas are typically soaked overnight and then simmered for up to two and a half hours to become tender. These, though, go into the pressure cooker dry and come out tender in just one hour! Use high-quality, cured Spanish chorizo (and not the fresh or raw Mexican version) for the best flavor and texture in this earthy, satisfying soup.
Pimenton is a Spanish paprika made from peppers that have been slowly smoked and dried over oak fires. If pimenton is not available, use Spanish smoked paprika. Garnish this smoky pork with lime wedges and cilantro leaves, if desired.
Unlike a fluffy French omelet, this Spanish classic traditionally includes olive oil and cooked potato with some egg. Shaking the pan helps prevent the omelet from sticking while allowing the egg and potato mixture to cook together.
Paella is a rice dish that hails from the Valencia region on the east coast of Spain. If Valencia rice is not available, use Arborio rice, but be sure not to stir the dish too much because paella is not meant to be creamy like a risotto.
Nourishing, vibrant, and without pretension, paella has held a place of honor and practicality in Spanish homes for centuries. To round out this meal, choose a good Spanish red wine from the Rioja region, a crusty baguette, and a light salad.