6 delicious recipes that make the most of Spain’s fantastic produce

by Great British Chefs 21 October 2020

Iberico pork, tinned fish, sherry vinegar, pimentón – Spanish ingredients are among the best in the world. Take a look at how two of the UK’s top chefs use them in six simple, delicious recipes.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

Every country in the world has its own larder of ingredients that make up their unique national cuisine – many can even be split down into specific regions. But in Spain, produce really is something special. Centuries of artisanal craftsmanship have resulted in some truly astonishing things to eat, and many of these products have become integral parts of Spanish cuisine.

However, you’re missing a trick if you only ever use Spanish produce to cook Spanish food. The quality and flavours of Spain’s most prized ingredients mean they’re a fantastic addition to all sorts of dishes. That’s why we asked Jun Tanaka, the Michelin-starred chef-owner of The Ninth in London, and Anna Tobias, who’s set to open her first solo restaurant Café Deco this year, to take the likes of Iberico pork, tinned fish, olive oil, sherry vinegar and pimentón and incorporate them into dishes which have plenty of Spanish flair, but aren’t strictly Spanish. Take a look at the recipes they came up with below and see how Spanish produce can become the cornerstone of any meal.

Pork with tuna sauce

Vitello tonnato is a classic dish from Piedmont in northern Italy that doesn’t really get the attention it deserves outside of the region. Thin slices of veal are smothered in a mayonnaise-like sauce flavoured with tuna – it might sound a little strange if you’ve never come across it before, but it really is delicious. Anna Tobias replaces the veal with pork and uses the very best Spanish tuna and anchovies in the sauce to – dare we say it – improve upon the Italian original.

Pork cheek and chorizo estofado

Estofado is simply Spanish for stew, and this dish combines quintessentially Spanish chorizo and and pimentón with the sour cream and caraway seeds you’d normally find in a Hungarian goulash. This fusion works incredibly well: the chorizo and pimentón add an extra hit of sweet smokiness in place of the more common paprika, and while you’d normally make goulash with beef, this dish uses pork cheek instead. The result is an incredibly warming, satisfying dish that’s brimming with a cacophony of flavour.

Lamb braised in vinegar and anchovies

If you’ve slow-cooked lamb before and not studded the meat with anchovies, you’re really missing a trick – rather than making the meat taste fishy, the salty fillets dissolve into the meat, imbuing it with an intense savouriness that brings out the natural flavour of the lamb like nothing else can. In this recipe, Anna braises the lamb shoulder in plenty of sherry vinegar – one of Spain’s most underrated ingredients – which adds a sweet, piquant taste along with plenty of sweet onions. If you’re looking for something a little different to prepare for Sunday dinner, this is it.

Iberico pork presa with chimichurri and red pepper purée

Iberico pork is regarded as the best pork in the world by many top chefs, and if you’ve tasted it before you know it’s akin to eating Wagyu beef or Bresse chicken. It’s such high quality that it’s often cooked quite rare, to allow the flavour of this incredible ingredient to truly shine (although if you’re put off by pink pork then simply cook it for a little longer). Here Jun Tanaka cooks Presa Iberica – a cut of meat from near the shoulder – just like a steak, before spooning over a punchy chimichurri sauce (made with Spanish anchovies), crispy chickpeas and a piquillo pepper purée.

Ratte potatoes with piquillo peppers and Iberico ham

For a side dish that’s guaranteed to steal the show, give this simple yet luxurious fried potato recipe a go. Ratte potatoes – a waxy variety that holds its shape well – are boiled and then shallow-fried, before being combined with peppers, rocket and slices of Iberico ham. Simple yet incredibly effective.

Monkfish with tomato, pepper and bean stew

As the weather turns a little cooler and we start hankering after more robust, hearty fare, stews of all kinds start to make an appearance after the lighter dishes of summer. This dish of borlotti beans in a pepper and tomato sauce bolstered with anchovies, pimentón and sherry vinegar is taken from rustic to something a little more special thanks to the beautiful pieces of monkfish, cooked on the bone for extra succulence. Equally suited to dinner parties or just a little treat for the family at the weekend – just make sure there’s plenty of crusty bread at hand to mop up the delicious sauce.