Tapas Recipes That Will Bring a Taste of Spain to Your Next Party
A colorful array of tapas are a delightful way to spark the appetite and the conversation. A drink without something to eat with it is just not very Spanish—but this tradition makes perfect sense for all of us; a nibble during an after-work social hour is a way to take off the edge of hunger, and ease into the evening. In the cities of Spain, tapas, pinchos—or pintxos as they are known in the Basque language—can be an expression of creativity. Indeed, all over the country, they are showcases for the best local foods, and can be as simple as a few slices of the local jamon which is proudly displayed on most Spanish bars.
Of all the culinary inventiveness and pride in local specialties, the trusty tortilla is a comforting mainstay: A dense potato omelette eaten at any time of day, a slice of tortilla Espanola is a culinary equivalent of a trusted friend. It is also a culinary heirloom, the recipe handed down through generations. Historically, tapas were free to bar customers who purchased a drink. To encourage this, highly seasoned dishes, pungent with paprika or garlic, and rich with olive oil or cheese were often served, foods that might make the customer thirsty for another drink. Tapas can be as simple as roasted almonds and salty green olives, or hot and crispy, like fried croquettes and savory meatballs. They are perfect accompaniments to a glass of Spanish wine or dry sherry, cider or beer.
Though all of this is particular to Spain, a tapas menu is easily customizable; if we use the ingredients available to us and bring a Spanish flair for fun, an evening of tapas can be an invitation to play.
Chorizo, Parsnip, and Olive Bites
Padron Peppers Fried with Sea Salt
Piquillo Pepper and Cheese Toasts
Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Shrimp Salad
Smoky Herbed Shrimp
Gambas, or shrimp, are a quintessential Spanish dish, most often cooked with garlic in olive oil. Here, smoky paprika and chopped tomato add a deep flavor and red hue.
These albondigas, Spanish for meatballs, are lightly coated in breadcrumbs and pan fried until crisp for easy nibbling with toothpicks.
Croquettes with Serrano Ham and Manchego Cheese
Steamed Clams in Garlic Saffron Broth
Fried Herbed Almonds
You can create your own freshly roasted version of fancy imported Spanish Marcona almonds, seasoning with herbs to your taste.