The hotbed of chiles in Spain is the valley of La Vera, where the pimientos (chiles) are grown and smoked to make the famous spice pimentón de la Vera. The majority of the pimentón goes to the sausage factories, where it is used to spice up, flavor, and brighten up the famous Spanish chorizo. But it is also packed in tins for the consumer market. There are three varieties of pimentón--sweet (dulce), hot (picante), and bittersweet (agridulce). The hot type is used in winter soups, chorizo, and Galician pulpo, or octopus. The octopus is boiled and sliced, then sprinkled with olive oil, salt, and hot pimentón powder. Interestingly, there are recipes for chorizo and potato stews that utilize all three of the types of pimentón. Serve this sauce over grilled seafood and chicken.
This traditional tapa is not anything like a Mexican tortilla. A Spanish tortilla is a large, thick, omelet-like cake made with potatoes and eggs and is served at room temperature. Romesco sauce is an all-purpose Spanish sauce that is served with a wide variety of dishes. From the Tarragona region, this Catalan sauce combines two of the most popular horticultural imports from the New World---chiles and tomatoes. The sauce gets its name from the romesco chiles that are used but are not readily available outside of Spain. The combination of ancho and New Mexican chiles approximates the taste.