Ah! Divino - Enjoy tapas in the relaxed manner of the Spanish. Tapas in Spanish mean cover or lid. A wide-ranging variety of appetizers in the Spanish cuisine is consumed as tapas. Tapas are snacks, finger food or canapés that can either be cold food like olives, cheese or warm food like fried baby squid, putillitas, Andalusian battered.
In Spain tapas is served between 2100 hrs and 2300 - After work and before dinner. Spaniards go 'ir de tapas' (bar hopping). Other common occasions where tapas are served is during weekend afternoons before the main course of the meal is served.
Savoring small dishes in between meals along with wine helped the Spanish King, Alfonso the tenth or 'the wise one' to recover from an illness. He ordered the Castilian taverns to serve these small dishes along with wine for all visitors. This way he made sure that people who consumed wine ate something while drinking and that people would not consume wine on an empty stomach.
Another anecdote points that while King Alfonso stopped in a province of Cadiz, the inn keeper served him sherry with a ham on top to cover the glass of sherry from dust. The King liked the idea and while ordering for another glass of sherry he ordered for a tapa or cover like the previous one.
Recipe for tapas varies according to the region. Tapas traditionally include olives, dry nuts, cold nuts, etc. Modified versions of tapas recipes include meat, eggs, fish, vegetables etc.
Torreznos – Thin slices of bacon
Bacon slices (thin, about 1cm thick)
Cut bacon into small dices and fry in a pan, set aside in a serving plate. Fry bread slices in the same oil and set it alongside the fried bacon. Serve hot.
Envueltos de pancetta – Bacon wrap
Steaks (thin) 5
Bacon rasher 5
Garlic clove 1, crushed
Wrap and roll each of the steaks in a slice of bacon and stick them down with the help of toothpicks. In a pan heat some oil and add the crushed garlic. Place the wraps on the pan and fry them on all the sides evenly. Lower the heat and allow the wraps to cook until they are tender. Remove the wraps and set it on a serving tray. Add some red wine in the pan and allow it to thicken. Pour it over the wraps. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
Costillas – Barbecued mini ribs
Pork ribs 1 sheet (11/2 lb)
Tomato puree 1tbsp
Sweet sherry 6tbsp
Soy sauce 1tsp
Tabasco sauce 1/2tsp
Brown sugar 1tbsp
Coarse sea salt
All purpose flour 2tbsp
Separate the ribs and cut them into halves through their width. In a mixing bowl, blend sherry, Tabasco, tomato puree, soy sauce, and sugar thoroughly. Toss and coat the ribs with flour, use a strong plastic bag for this purpose. Dip each of the ribs in the sauce and cook it on a barbecue or on a hot grill, turn occasionally while cooking. Allow the ribs to char. Sprinkle salt and serve hot.
Tostada de aguacate – Avocado toast
Smoked ham slices
Toast bread. On each toast, coat a bit of garlic mayonnaise and spread it over the bread. Add a portion of avocado and a slice of smoked ham.
Other common tapas dishes
Albondigas: Meat rolls
Boquerones: White anchovies served with vinegar or deep fried
Ensaladilla rusa: Mixed boiled vegetables with olive, tuna, and mayonnaise
Queso con anchoas: Castilla or Manchego cured cheese with anchovies on top.
Rajo: Pork seasoned with garlic and parsley. A variety with added paprika is called Zorza.
Solomillo a la castellana: Fried pork scallops, served with an onion and/or Cabrales cheese sauce
Tortillitas de camarones: Battered-prawn fritters.
All over Spain you will find small bars serving tapas in its local traditional flavor. Tapas denote friendliness, family, and friends; Spaniards love to eat while they drink. Initially Spanish tapas was given free of cost for visitors. Spanish tapas has gained popularity all over the world as people have started to relish tapas along with their drinks.
Tapas party recipes
Having friends home for a tapas party is fun. Spanish guitar music combined with piping hot tapas and wine is a great way to enjoy a tapas party. Try these tapas recipes and play the perfect host at your tapas party. While serving tapas at parties, serve at least four varieties of them. Serve each one with a gap of at least half an hour, this will allow your guests to enjoy the luscious flavor of each of the tapa.
Gambas al Ajillo - Shrimp in Garlic
Garlic cloves finely minced
Red pepper flakes 1tsp
Virgin olive oil ¼ cup
Spanish paprika 1tsp
Cognac or sherry 2-3 oz
Fresh parsley 3 tsp, chopped
Fresh bread baguette
Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and fry until brown. Increase the heat and add shrimps, paprika, lemon juice, and cognac. Stir well and fry, waiting until the shrimps turn pink in color and curl. Spice with pepper and salt and sprinkle parsley. Serve hot along with fresh bread.
Calamares Fritos or Calamares a la Romana - Fried Squid
Cleaned squid 2 lbs
Flour ¼ lb
Salt to taste
Clean squids, dry them thoroughly and cut the body of squids into rings. Coat the squids with a mixture of. Pour olive oil in a frying pan and keep on high heat. Remove the squid rings carefully and place them in the frying pan. Fry them until they turn golden brown. Drain on paper towel and serve hot.
Jamon, Queso y Choriso con Pan – Ham, cheese and Chorizo with bread
French bread baguettes 2
Serrano ham 1/4lb
Manchego cheese 1/2lb
Spanish Chorizo sausage 1lb
Slice the crispy baguette into 1/3” thick slices. Slice the Manchego cheese into ¼”inch thick slices. Slice the jamon into paper thin slices, so that they fit the baguette slices. Slice the Spanish Chorizo into ¼” pieces. You can choose to use them fried. On a serving plate, place the baguette slices, a piece of cheese and a piece of ham and a piece of chorizo over that. Serve with wine.
Cooked carrots ¼ cup, diced
Large red potatoes 4, boiled and cubed
Frozen peas ¼ cup, drained and cooked
Olive oil 2tbsp
Mayonnaise 2/3 cup
Garlic 1clove, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
In a mixing bowl, mix the carrots, peas and potatoes. In another bowl, beat oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar and pour it over the vegetables. Mix gently but thoroughly. Allow it to stay at least for two hours (keeping it overnight improves the flavor). One hour before you serve, add mayonnaise and garlic. Refrigerate and serve after one hour.