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Erin Rosar
 
September 18, 2014 | Events, Tasty Recipes | Erin Rosar

What are Tapas?

​Tapas - they're essentially snacks!

Originally from Spain, Tapa means "cover" in Spanish. The name comes from a card that used to be put on top of a drink to protect it from flies; at some point it became a habit to top this "cover" with a snack. In some parts of Spain, a tapa is included in the price of a drink served in a bar. This usually amounts to a few olives, a piece of cheese, or something similar in size. Bigger portions that are ordered to make up a meal are also called tapas. It is customary to share them. 

In lieu of dinner, many Spaniards go out for tapas, the equivalent of "bar hopping", but instead, eating tapas and having a copa at each bar. In the province of Granada in Southern Spain, you will usually get a tapa for free when you ask for a drink at a bar. It is more common to pay for the drink and tapa elsewhere.

Tapas may also be called 'pinchos', because many of them have a pincho (or toothpick) through them to keep the snack from falling off the piece of bread it's attached to!  Tapas are also sometimes known as banderillas.

SPANISH TOMATO BREAD WITH JAMON SERRANO

These tasty tapas are ready in just 5 minutes, the perfect accompaniment for a drinks party

Ingredients

  • 4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 Bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • Sea salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste
  • 20 slices of baguette (grilled in the oven with olive oil
  • 5-6 slices Jamón serrano ham

Directions

  1. Mix together the chopped tomatoes, garlic glove, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  2. Keep in the fridge until needed.
  3. To serve, grilled 20 slices of baguette dabbed with olive oil in the oven.
  4. Spoon a little tomato topping on to each piece of toast.
  5. Tear 5-6 slices of jamón serrano into pieces and put one piece on each slice of bread.

SAUTÉED ASPARAGUS, TOASTED ALMONDS, LEMON & MANCHEGO CHEESE

Ingredients

  • 36 asparagus spears
  • 5 oz. butter
  • 3.5 oz. grilled almonds
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. of lemon zest
  • 1.75 oz. best-quality Manchego cheese

Directions

  1. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and plunge in the asparagus. Cook for 2-3 minutes, drain, then leave them to sit somewhere warm.
  2. Next, put the butter and a dab of olive oil into a cold pan with the almonds. Carefully heat it up, watching that the butter doesn't get too dark.
  3. When it is beginning to foam, remove from the heat and pour in the lemon juice and the rind and simmer for 2 more minutes.
  4. Arrange the asparagus onto 6 serving plates and spoon over some of the lemon butter and almonds.
  5. Shave the cheese with a peeler, scatter over and serve.

PATATAS BRAVAS & ALIOLI

Ingredients

FOR THE SAUCE

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion , chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves , chopped
  • 8 oz. can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. tomato purée
  • 2 tsp. sweet paprika (pimenton)
  • Good pinch chilli powder
  • Pinch sugar
  • Chopped fresh parsley , to garnish

Directions

  1. Prepare ahead by heating the oil in a pan; add the onion and fry for about 5 minutes until softened.
  2. Add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato purée, paprika, chilli powder, sugar and salt and bring to the boil, stirring.
  3. Simmer for 10 minutes until pulpy and refrigerate.

FOR THE AILOLI

  • Half a small clove of garlic, peeled and minced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg yolk,
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • The juice of half a lemon

Directions

  1. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the minced garlic and set aside.
  2. Place the egg yolk and mustard in a bowl and whisk together with a whisk or a fork, and then start to add one quarter of the oil slowly.
  3. Once you’ve blended in a quarter of the oil, you can start to add the rest in larger amounts. When it’s all gone in, add the garlic and lemon juice.
  4. To finish off, season to taste with salt, pepper and a bit more lemon juice, if needed.

FOR THE POTATOES

  • 2 lbs potatoes
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C or gas mark 6). Cut the potatoes into small cubes and pat dry with kitchen paper.
  2. Spread over a roasting tin and toss in the oil, then season. Roast for 40-50 minutes, until the potatoes are crisp and golden.
  3. Tip the potatoes into dishes and spoon over the reheated sauce.
  4. Sprinkle with the parsley.
  5. Serve with cocktail sticks.

Note: if you have a convection oven, preheat to 350°F (180°C).

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