SPANISH MEDITERRANEAN DIET - FOODS, RECIPES & BENEFITS
A way of eating based on traditional foods
Spanish spices and ingredients have been highly prized throughout history for enhancing the flavor of a myriad of dishes and they’re still popular today. Valued by home cooks and international chefs, those ingredients add color, flavor and visual appeal.
Virgin olive oil
Heart healthy extra virgin olive oil is an essential in Spanish cuisine and an indispensable ingredient for home cooks. It’s a versatile oil that’s equally appropriate for frying, baking, sautéing and in sauces and dressings. It has the added benefit of being heart healthy.
Virgin olive oil has its own unique taste and allows the flavors within any cuisine to shine through. Traditional extra virgin olive oil is harvested and pressed in a way that allows it to retain the highest level of beneficial properties that includes antioxidants, vitamin E, and anti-inflammatory elements.
La Mancha saffron
Saffron is an ancient spice, with three-fourths of the world supply originating in the La Mancha region of Spain. It’s brewed as a tea, used in soups and stews, rice and vegetarian dishes, and in meat and seafood.
La Mancha saffron has a host of health benefits. It’s a powerful antioxidant and rich in vitamin C and B6, along with minerals that includes iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc and selenium. It also aids in digestion.
Saffron blends well with a comprehensive range of other ingredients and is most often utilized in paellas, risottos and pilafs. The spice should be added early in the cooking process to ensure the saffron has time to infuse other ingredients. La Mancha saffron adds richness to any dish and a touch of luxury to everyday meals.
Authentic Spanish sherry vinegar is highlighted by vibrant, nutty accents. Two aged types are available. Reserva has been aged at least two years and Gran Reserva must be aged at least 10 years.
It’s a complimentary ingredient that blends especially well with honey and ginger, bacon fat and soy sauce. Sherry vinegar features a slightly sweet flavor that’s highly sought for use in dishes ranging from meat and vegetables to salsa, relish and desserts.
Pimentón de la Vera (smoked paprika)
A defining ingredient in Spanish cuisine, Pimentón de la Vera is smoked paprika, created from peppers that are harvested and dried over an oak fire for 15 days. It’s available in mild (sweet), medium and hot strengths that’s dependent upon whether the seeds and stems are removed or not. Authentic Pimentón de la Vera is stone ground in the traditional way to preserve aroma and flavor.
Pimentón de la Vera seasons with a smoky flavor and aroma that makes it a standout in the kitchen. It’s used in dishes encompassing meat and seafood, vegetables, soups and stews. It’s a colorful garnish for appetizers and rice dishes, but should be used with care as it’s a zesty spice that can be overwhelming when too much is added.
Superior Spanish cuisine
Extra virgin olive oil, La Mancha saffron, sherry vinegar ad Pimentón de la Vera are the four dish enhancing ingredients that no cook who appreciates Spanish and Mediterranean cooking should ever be without. The ingredients blend well with other spices and can be incorporated into dishes ranging from entrees and sides to desserts for flavoring or as a garnish to enhance the visual aspect.