The Spanish Table
We are lucky to have The Spanish Table shop in Santa Fe. I love their olive oils, vinegars, spices (adore the Smoked Red Pepper Sea Salt--even put it in my bread), table top items, cassuelas, you name it. Gave a "flamenco" apron to my girlfriend for Christmas one year.
I'm thinking of getting a gift certificate for some close friends who love to cook but have only been there once with us. Can you name your favorite products from TST that I can recommend to them and try myself?
I go there quite often. It is one of my favorite grocery stores in Seattle. It is just west of Pike Place Market down on Western Avenue and next to their sister shop Paris Grocery.
One thing that I think is a standout of Spanish Table is their canned and jarred seafood options --- some of which I think would be hard to find even in the biggest cities. I don't know of another place where you will find as good of a selection.
We have a special affinity for the north-central and NW portions of Spain (Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia). If you wanted to do pulpo a la gallega (octopus, potatoes, olive oil and salt) tinned octopus makes it easy. They have a number of brands of tinned pulpo. I have Matiz and Albo in my cupboard now.
For good bonita in oil I like the Arroyabe and Ortiz. I typically use it for bocadillos and stuffed red pimientos. Incidentally they have a number of jarred and tinned red peppers. I am having a hard time thinking of the brand name right now but there is one brand in a pop top can that packs only the beautiful soft triangular bottom trips of the peppers which are ideal for stuffing.
I have some excellent jarred sardines in olive oil from Ortiz on hand right now. Those are great on a toast as a simple tapa.
Others have pointed out jamon iberico. There are different grades of which the finest is bellota -- designating jamon from free range forest pigs that in the last stage of raising are fed exclusively acorns. They have jamon iberico bellota as I recall. It is very pricey.
One thing that I really enjoy is Fermin chorizo and salchichon iberico. It is made in Spain not in the US. The venture is a collaboration between Fermin USA and the Jose Andres Think Food group.
I have been making a tapa for a few years now that I picked up at Taberna de Tempranillo on C.Cava Baja in Madrid which is a slice of baguette with foie pate or other smooth liver pate topped with carmelized onions and a dollop of jam. I have been using the La Tejea jarred (extremely sweet) carmelized onion preserves as a twist.
For olives they have a large variety. I typically get the manzanilla verde from Ybara. They remind me of a number of bars we have visited in Spain.
The cheeses are mentioned are great. All the best known options, Manchego (Castile - La Mancha), Garrotxa (Catalonia), Cabrales (Asturias), Idiazabal (Navarre), Mahon (Menorca) etc. will be there. You may have seen the Murcia al vino (Murcia) around -- a beautiful goat cheese with a characteristic purple rind from being bathed in wine. Another that is fairly common is Roncal (Navarre). However ask them to recommend some unusual options.
Again we have a special love of Asturias, Cantabria, the Picos de Europa and Galicia so I am always on the lookout for products from those regions. In terms of cheeses, you have to be a particular lover of intense blue cheese to fully enjoy Cabrales (it is very good with cider and hearty mountain food like fabada Asturiana) but if you can get ahold of Gamonedo (Asturias) it is a particularly beautiful blue cheese. Or if they have it try Quesucos de Liebana ahumando (smoked on juniper branches). I have seen Galician Tetilla there before. They previously also had the interesting soft Asturian cheese Afuega l'Pitu. The cheese has several variants but I prefer the rojo or roxu for its orange-red color which comes from rolling the cheese in smoked pimenton.
In a very interesting development Spanish Table has managed to pick up Asturian and Basque hard ciders. A bottle that would cost about Eur 2-2.5 in Spain is about $10 here but it is 700 or 750 ml so I think it is a fair value. I find them particularly appealing if you want to do chorizo cooked in cider or just to drink with some of the cheeses above.
They also have the ingredients you need (uncured chorizo, morcilla (blood sausage) and fabes) to make fabada Asturiana the quintessential Asturian mountain white bean and pork stew.
That is just a small sampling. I mostly use Spanish Table for their spectacular selection of Spanish (and Portuguese) wine. You would be hard pressed to find a better selection. They are also particularly strong in port and sherry.
Quince paste, good aged Manchego cheese, spanish Chorizo (the hard good stuff is harder to find in SEA, and they have it), ditto on Paella pan. Great Sherry, nic selection of cazuela's for serving tapas at home (the earthenware dishes come in a variety of sizes). Saffron, sherry vinegar, Spanish cookbooks.