Mortar & Pestle (mortero or almirez) This basic tool is indispensable in the traditional Spanish kitchen. Made of hefty stone, olive wood or shiny brass, the mortar is often as lovely as it is useful. The tool is the starting point of many of Spain’s most famous concoctions including ajoblanco, cold almond soup and romesco sauce. The mortar also gives birth to picada sauce, a mashed blend of nuts, garlic, parsley, and toasted bread that is used to flavor and thicken stews such as zarzuela.
The process is simple, but not so easy. Start with crushing blows and then grind, grind, grind away with your pestle. When you think you are finished, grind for few more minutes until you are, indeed, done.