Are you looking for something fun to serve at your next gathering? Try tapas! Tapas are easy-to-prepare bar snacks or appetizers in the Spanish tradition that you can recreate at home. Small plates of savory finger foods and a few bottles of robust Spanish wine are pretty much foolproof ingredients for a successful party. Be casual, think about flavors complementing each other, and simply enjoy this finger-licking culinary tradition.
With our charcuterie, recipes, and recommendations, you will be well on your way to tapas expertise.
Plan for Flavor with these Must-Have Dishes for Your Tapas Spread:
Look for green and black olives already marinated in garlic and herbs, or marinate your own. Try serving them heated for a surprising treat.
Fried, Salted Almonds
Prized Marcona almonds are the best type of almond for tapas. The salt is crucial to complement the wine or beer.
Sausage and meat dishes are very popular in Spain, especially the spicy pork sausage known as chorizo. Whether sliced and simmered in seasoned red wine or sizzled on a clay platter, this flavorful sausage is a tailor-made toothpick snack. We also like it cooked with kale and served on crostini with melted Manchego cheese.
Cubed potatoes fried in olive oil (or duck fat) until crispy and golden are a super popular Spanish tapa. They are served with a drizzle of tomatoey, sometimes creamy, sauce that’s spiked with smoky Spanish pimenton (paprika).
This egg-and-potato omelet is a staple tapas offering. Potatoes and onions are fried in olive oil before being bound into an inches-high “cake” using seasoned, beaten eggs. Tortilla is often prepared with additional ingredients, such as sliced mushrooms, peppers, or chorizo.
Spanish ham is legendary around the world. Accompanied by traditional tomato- and garlic-rubbed toasts, dry-cured ham makes a perfect party nibble. Our sliced Serrano, whole Iberico, our exclusive Mangalica ham, and even Jambon de Bayonne will be welcome additions to your tapas spread.
Marinate Spanish white anchovies in vinegar or fry them in oil. You may find them pre-marinated and preserved in olive oil at better grocery stores.
Most every bar in Spain will offer these round, golden-fried nuggets of seasoned béchamel, which is simmered until thickened, flavored with bits of Serrano ham or vegetables, and coated in breadcrumbs. Our recipe gets a little spice from the chopped chorizo inside.
Shrimp with Ham
Seafood is common at a tapas table, and shrimp are especially well-suited to this casual way of eating. Try this simple variation on our Basque brochettes recipe, which unites seafood with cured ham in a delicious finger-food.
What’s your go-to party appetizer? Tell us about it in the comments below!
Did you know? “Tapa” means “cover” or “lid” in Spanish, and may refer to the small dishes being served gratis and balanced on the top of a glass of beer or wine.
Featured photo by Joe Kniesek on Flickr.
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