There are no shortage of specialty markets in Chicago. When it comes to procuring Spanish delicacies, however, there’s a lamentable dearth. Come Sunday, Vera chef Mark Mendez and Chicago-based importer JDY Gourmet will fill that void: The duo’s Spanish Market will take over the back hall of the River East Art Center, displaying a beautiful array of Spanish lunchtime fare and pantry goods. Like what you eat at Vera’s table? Buy those very ingredients from JDY and recreate the dishes at home.
At Vera, start with a few strips of Iberico ham, sliced to order. Pick up the packaged version from JDY for nighttime snacking (ideally with a wedge of Manchego and a glass of fino). Vera’s seafood salad swims with octopus, shrimp, peppers, olives, olive oil and sherry vinegar; with tins of Matiz seafood, Castillo de Canena olive oil, moscatel vinegar and jars of piquillo and pipparras peppers, you can try your darndest to create one of equal quality. A steamy bowl of fabada (Asturian bean and sausage stew) is comfort food at its finest. Take home JDY’s saffron, pimenton and a clay cazuela pan to craft your own version at home.
Come hungry for Vera’s roasted beet salad with blue cheese and pistachios, and ready to stock up on staples of the Spanish pantry, like romesco sauce, marcona almonds, bomba rice, paella pans and more. Buen provecho!