The Secret Flavor Booster I Buy at World Market Whenever It’s in Stock
As an avid charcuterie enthusiast, I am constantly on the hunt for the best cured meats. After traveling in Spain, I’ve become particularly fond of chorizo, a mildly spicy, air-dried pork sausage that is a mainstay of Spanish tapas and other dishes. On snack boards, cheese trays, and as an ingredient in pasta, paella, and soups, it’s now a constant in my kitchen. That’s why I was so thrilled when I came across imported Spanish Palacios Iberico Chorizo at my local World Market.
What’s So Great About Palacios Iberico Chorizo?
Not to be confused with soft Mexican chorizo, which is raw, the Spanish version of chorizo is ready to eat. It’s sold in whole links about the diameter of a quarter in four- to eight-inch lengths. The deep-red sausage has a coarser mince than dried salami, with a chewy texture at first that becomes melt-in-your-mouth soft in moments. It has a sweet, porky flavor enhanced simply by salt, paprika, and garlic, so it goes with just about anything it is paired with.
I particularly love Palacios chorizo because it’s shelf-stable until you open it, so I can stock it in my pantry for a few months and open it whenever I need it. (It lasts about 10 days in the fridge once opened). Depending on which World Market you shop at, you’ll find up to five kinds of Palacios chorizo (ranging from $10.99 to $13.99 for a 7.05-ounce package), including a mild original flavor, an organic version, and a spicier picante style.
My personal favorite, though, is the Iberico-style chorizo. It’s made from the indigenous black-hoofed Iberico pig that forages for acorns; their diet gives the sausage a sweet, nutty intensity that’s well worth the extra $3 per package.
What’s the Best Way to Use Palacios Iberico Chorizo?
I peel off the tough, transparent skin on the outside of the chorizo before eating it, but you can leave it on if you don’t mind the little extra chewiness. Let the chorizo sit for about a half hour at room temperature before serving it for the full blast of flavor. Don’t worry if you see spots of white mold on the outside of the chorizo — this is a natural part of the curing process. It can easily be peeled off with the outer casing and it is perfectly safe to eat. (When I was working in a cheese shop, I was taught that white mold is safe, even desired in cured products, but to avoid foods with green or black mold on them.)
For a quick tapas-themed snack board, slice the chorizo crosswise into half-inch-thick rounds and serve with slices of Manchego or Petit Basque cheese, Marcona almonds, and glasses of dry sherry. Chorizo is also at home on an international cheese board with a variety of cheeses or on a mixed charcuterie board with salty pretzels, olives, and citrus to cut the richness of the sausage. But that’s just the beginning!
One of my favorite ways to use chorizo is to add thick nubbins of it to a pot of dried beans as they are simmering, like in this Spanish bean soup. Chorizo is handy for sheet pan suppers to add a quick flavor punch, and it’s a natural pairing with eggs (shakshuka comes immediately to mind). And then there are simple pasta dishes like this spin on Bolognese. No matter how you slice it, Spanish chorizo is the secret flavor-booster your kitchen needs.
Buy: Palacios Iberico Chorizo, $13.99 for 7.05 ounces at World Market
Is there a grocery you always pick up at World Market? Tell us in the comments below.