A fascination with tapas
What is it about tapas? Eating with fingers, having a wide selective choice? Eating a series of snacks rather than a full meal? The Spanish flavours?
All of the above.
‘…we’d like to know what your favourite tapas are.’
Prawns in garlic and chilli
Clams, with butter beans – with sherry or white wine (optional)
Spinach and pine nuts
Chorizo and tomatoes
Caperberries and olives
Manchego and membrillo
This is a spread for a special meal. Each recipe is fairly easy, I use my own usual spin on classic tapas recipes found in my Spanish cookbooks. Individual dishes will be added to the compendium. In the meantime, here is a note on preparing tapas as a meal.
Making a tapas meal requires some careful thought. Our homes are not Spanish bars, complete with cooks and chefs continually producing food in the background. So decisions need to be made about how to present the tapas. If hot dishes are to come out in 15 minute intervals then this will be pretty much impossible. The best thing to do is to stagger the dishes as hot and cold – easy and hard.
The selection I have shown here is a very good basic spread of Spanish flavours and styles of eating. Caperberries and olives can be picked at throughout the meal. Ham and bread is cold and can be made in advance. A good Iberico jamon will be admired and savoured at the start – giving plenty of time to organise the following dishes.
The Prawns – gambos al ajillo – are a favourite, and next to arrive – always with a sizzling flourish and celebration – eat with your hands – the more garlic, chilli and mess the better – have lots of napkins. Chorizo cooked in wine and mixed with tomatoes gives the proceeding a solid base in Spanish flavour. The Spanish chefs are sometimes reticent about supplying veg in restaurants – I redress the situation by always including at least spinach. This can be served well cooked, providing a large portion of greens, or it can be lightly wilted dressed with oil sherry vingar, raisons and pine nuts and mint, which make it like a salad. The clams, ham and beans are very authentic and provide an exotic talking point.
Manchego cut in laid out triangular slices comes out at the end and finishes the meal, helped by the sweetness of the membrillo.
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