Monday, May 3, 2010

Tapas



Tapas are little dishes. In Spain tapas are served before lunch and dinner in bars and taverns. They are also late night fare for bar goers. One legend about the origin of Tapas is this: In Spanish tapar means "to cover" and the first tapa was a slice of ham served on top of a glass to keep out the flies...because the saltiness of the ham increased sales the tradition followed. Another tale says that the Spanish king Alfonso the 10th was ill. His doctors prescribed that he have small bites of food with some wine between meals. The king then ordered that all the local inns couldn't sell wine without small dishes of food. Whatever the reason Tapas are wonderful.

For a simple tapas presentation I like to get cucumbers, tomatoes, and red bell peppers. Chop them up and put them on a platter. Serve with lemon wedges and drizzle with olive oil. Serve a variety of cheeses and meats with crackers and bread rounds are also a tasty addition. Maybe even some smoked salmon. Fresh fruits, small salads, and olives are also nice. If you want to make heartier fare then add some fried fish, steamed shell fish, shrimp cocktail or seasoned veggies like potatoes or mushrooms. Another common addition is the tortilla espanola. Presentation is important. Put everything on nice serving platters and garnish appropriately. Enjoy!

This past weekend we threw a party to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. For the party we had a selection of tapas and some cold beer (brewed by one of the guests), and some wine. Here is a list of the tapas we made for the party:

Stuffed Mushrooms (cooked on the grill)

Hummus with Bread Rounds

Peel and Eat Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce (I boiled the shrimp for a few minutes, chilled them and then mixed up some ketchup, horseradish, Worcestershire and lemon)

Spanish Spinach and Tomato Pizza
I sautéed 2 cloves of garlic and 1 onion in olive oil. I added a can of chopped tomatoes and cooked until the liquid was absorbed. I then add about 3 C. fresh spinach (I just added it by the handful until it looked right) and cooked until spinach wilted a bit. Then I spread it on a prepared pizza crust (you can use a "from scratch" crust... or for simplicity one of the Bobali types... the recipe I based this on made a pizza crust and cut it into small rounds for finger food size portions) and sprinkled it with pine nuts. I baked it for 10-15 minutes in a 400 degree oven.


Garlic Tomatoes
I cut several tomatoes in half and surrounded them with garlic cloves and topped with fresh thyme and salt and pepper. We then cooked them on the grill using indirect heat (at about 400 degrees) for about 40-45 minutes. To eat simply squeeze garlic on a tomato half and eat!

Berries and Melon


We also had some wonderful olives, shrimp stuffed cherry tomatoes, and other contributions by guests.

1 comment:

  1. everything was delicious! thanks again for having us!

    ReplyDelete

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