Tapas can be as simple as small plates of store-bought olives, anchovies, fried almonds, chorizo slices, and quartered piquillo peppers passed around with pre-dinner drinks. Or they can make up a whole colorful meal or buffet of small dishes. If you want to go the latter route, try presenting a varied menu that combines something fried really crunchy and something baked; something briny and something mild; something saucy or salady and something dry.
Any tapas bash should begin with a trip to the market for Spanish cheeses, olives, marcona almonds, anchovies, and dry-cured chorizo or good salami. Here are ten tapas ideas from our friend Anya von Bremzen, author of "The New Spanish Table", so simple they don't really require proper recipes:
- Boiled diced potatoes with chopped red onion, piquillo peppers, chunks of good tuna, loads of good olive oil, and a splash of sherry vinegar
- Boquerones (white anchovies) on a bed of julienned piquillo peppers or pimientos, drizzled with reduced balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with parsley
- Cubes of Manchego cheese marinated in olive oil with aromatic herbs, such as thyme and rosemary
- Simple seafood kebabs/pinchos brushed with olive oil that has been flavored with garlic and pimentón, grilled or broiled, and served with Toasted Hazelnut Romesco dip or colorful saffron allioli.
- Smoked salmon slices rolled around a salad of cooked salmon tossed with diced apples and cornichons, shredded lettuce, and mayo; served on endive spears
- Steamed mussels, cooled and served on the half shell, drizzled with a vinaigrette of olive oil and white wine vinegar, a sprinkling of diced red, green, and yellow bell peppers, and parsley
- Dates stuffed with marcona almonds, Cabrales cheese, or small chunks of chorizo, wrapped in bacon and baked or broiled until crisp (turning them once)
- Lightly steamed fat asparagus stalks, wrapped in piquillo pepper halves, then in serrano ham slices, and grilled, griddled, or broiled for a few minutes
- Green grapes rolled in goat cheese, coated in coarsely chopped toasted almonds, and chilled for about 1 hour
- Grilled or roasted fig halves wrapped in serrano ham slices or topped with a smear of Cabrales cheese
- A smear of Cabrales cheese on dried figs that have been marinated in port wine and drained
Source: Recipes © 2005 from The New Spanish Table by Anya von Bremzen. Featuring over 300 unique recipes, The New Spanish Table protrays the food and culture of Spain at its most vibrant. The perfect pairing for delicious Spanish wines!. (Workman Publishing Co. Inc.)