Saturday, 16 June 2012

A table full of tapas

Care for a snack? Why not! Muy bien! Tapas son muy populares en España. Pero ... not everyone can be there or has a tapas bar nearby.
Anyway, as is the case with most things, you can manage at home. That is of course only, if you are willing to try. I was today! Nothing better to do. However, eating is a good reason to be active cooking and preparing food in the kitchen.

Now it happens to be that I have this cookbook about tapas from Parragon Books Ltd. Somehow I was in the mood today for some extensive testing. There are quite some tasty tapas recipes in this book to satisfy your desire for these little Spanish snacks.
So I flipped through the book, pondering on what to try today - of course limited to the resources available to me at home.
Starting with the cheating way, I opened a glass of olives stuffed with garlic. That would do for starters.

Of course, this has little to do with cooking. Well, then let's try something else, like roasted peppers with honey and almonds.

Put some red peppers in the oven and roast them until they blacken. Put them in a bowl and cover with cling film for several minutes so that you can remove the skin. Cut it into bit size pieces and put them in a bowl. 
In a pan heat up some olive oil and put in some slice garlic at low heat for 5 minutes. Then had some sliced almonds, honey, and sherry vinegar. Heat up and then put to the peppers and mix well.
Or what about some salted paprika almonds.

When thinking of Spain, what else comes to your mind? Jamon Serrano might be something foodwise. Have it with some dressed (orange, olive oil, salt, pepper) rocket leaves.

Something I enjoyed very much, apart from the just mentioned Jamon Serrano with rocket, is fried dates filled with chorizo and wrapped in bacon.


OK, they don't look all that impressive, but they taste sweet and delicious and ... you want more. It was only for safety reasons that I made just for.
So, get some dates. Put a bit of chorizo where the stone of the date used to be, wrap a piece of bacon around it. Have some flour, beaten egg, and bread crumbs ready to coat the dates. Fry them with sufficient oil for about four minutes and enjoy them ... delish ... hot!
Good! The night isn't over yet. 

You can and should make use of chorizo also in other ways - fried with fresh herbs. The recipe didn't state, though what herbs. I used what I had: chives, oregano, thyme, and mint. Somehow in nearly all of the recipes olive oil and garlic was involved. There was still a recipe for having the chorizo with red wine. The downside was, leaving it 8 hours to work, obviously no time for that - have to postpone it to some other day in the future.

As stated in the tapas book, tomato bread is one of the favourites in Spain, especially in the Barcelona region (which is very nice actually as I experienced it myself). It reminds me a bit of the Italian bruschetta and somehow is prepared in a similar way. You can toast the bread and rub it with garlic, splash olive oil on it and then rub it with a tomato half. If you like you can put some Jamon Serrano and capers on it.

One of my favourites are also garlic prawns. Heat some olive oil in a pan and add some chopped garlic and one or two dried chillies. Then there come the prawns. Hopefully they are dry, so that you can fry them and you don't end up cooking them.
In the end I had about ten different tapas. You can enjoy a lot of different things without getting to much stuffed. There are still more delicious recipe to discover, when it comes to tapas.
They are also very good when you are together with a group at a table as you can go along and nibble here and there once in a while without having the "pressure" of finishing a whole big meal. It's to encourage conversation.
In some countries they have a lot of clever ideas on enjoying food. Spain is always a pleasant stop in that regard. If you like you can enjoy some wine or sherry along it.
What is your favourite tapa?
Muchas gracias por tu visita! Hasta la proxima vez!


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