Exploring Spanish Cuisine

Taking on the globe's great food muse

Spain has long been a lodestar to American chefs, albeit a dimly lit one.

For the past 20 years, there was only one aspect of Spain that had culinary professionals aflutter: alta cocina, a term that covers the virtuosic endeavors of chefs such as Ferran Adrià (El Bulli) and Andoni Luis Aduriz (Mugaritz).

But now, the country's influences are widening. There are still those Stateside who pray at Spain's Michelin-lined altar, but chefs are now also looking to the country's classic and traditional dishes with equal excitement.

With an increasing amount of romesco and bacalao gracing menus across the United States, we are also taking a cue from Spanish tables in our homes.

To start, we tapped Chicago's Ryan Poli, chef of newcomers Barcito and Tavernita, to walk us through the best uses for marcona almonds, one of the most classic Spanish ingredients.

Armed with his two recipes (click here to see), we'll be exploring other dishes, staples, drinks and preparations from Spain all month long. And for those who learn best by immersion, we've even put together the ultimate food-oriented road trip through northern Spain—watch for it later this month.

Buen provecho.