To truly cook Spanish food, you have to start with Spanish ingredients. And lucky for us, these ingredients are becoming more and more a part of the American kitchen. The great olive oil of Spain should be your building block. Be sure to find some pimentón, the sweet smoky paprika, and earthy but delicate saffron, both of which spice so many of our dishes. Explore the wonderful world of Spanish cheese and wine—each region of Spain produces many amazing varieties.

Our jamon serrano and jamon Iberico are legendary and the chorizo and butifarra sausages are worth seeking out. The national dish, paella, can only really be made with the short-grain rice from Valencia (Bomba) or Murcia (Calasparra). And our fruits and vegetables--whether found fresh like a box of sweet clementines or jarred like the ruby red piquillo peppers--are appearing on grocery shelves across the U.S.

Now I’m hungry, so let’s eat!

photographs by Thomas Schauer

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photographs by Pablo de Loy