by Kate Harris
Throw your own tapas party!
First off, I should probably level with you that the total cost of all these ingredients is not cheap. You may wish to make it cheaper by serving more of the cheap stuff, like the tomato bread, and leaving out obscenely expensive things like Iberico ham. If you’ve got a bit of money to spare, this dinner party is well worth it. I served it to some friends recently and got rave reviews. Here we go, then…
Start with some white crusty bread, olives, pickled chillies and some sangria. The Spanish often have sherry with tapas, but have sangria, sherry, cider or whatever you fancy.
3 parts red wine
1 part orange juice
2 parts lemonade
Citrus fruit in slices or segments, e.g. oranges, lemons, limes
>Mix together and serve cold.
Then serve bruschetta (I know, I know, it’s Italian), or to be more authentically Spanish tomato-rubbed bread:
Tomato-rubbed bread recipe:
Good quality extra-virgin olive oil
A few garlic cloves, halved or quartered
Crusty white bread (one slice per person)
Very ripe tomatoes, pulped
Spanish sherry vinegar (optional)
Salt flakes, freshly ground black pepper
>Toast the bread in a toaster or under a grill
>Rub with garlic, finely chop or mince a tiny bit of the garlic and leave it on the bread if you want an extra garlicky kick
>Smear pulped tomatoes in a thin layer over the top of this
>Drip about a tablespoon of olive oil (or more to taste) over each slice of bread
>If desired, top with a few drops of sherry vinegar if you crave that acidity
>Season with salt and pepper
Follow with Iberico ham, or another fine ham. You may wish to put it on bread. I like it on its own.
Then have my favourite dish (and the most simple one!), chorizo in cider.
Chorizo in cider recipe:
1 huge or 2 small cooking chorizos, chopped into chunks
1 bottle dry Spanish cider
Crusty white bread, to serve
In a saucepan, poach the chorizo for 15-20 minutes on a low simmer. It will change consistency and colour. Give everyone some of the cooking sauce as well, which can be mopped up with the bread.
Next serve up that most Spanish of dishes, patatas bravas. This is a recipe I’ve adapted from Rick Stein’s series on Spanish food and a number of other sources. They’re called ‘fierce potatoes’, so I like them quite hot. Alter to taste. I like doing it this way because you don’t have to boil the potatoes first. If you want to take a shortcut, you can buy some great jars of salsa brava from good Spanish delis including Lupe Pintos in Edinburgh’s Tollcross. I’d still recommend adding some Pimenton and a small amount of chopped tomatoes, though, to bulk out the sauce and add some smoky heat.
Patatas bravas recipe:
1 medium-large potato per person, sliced very thinly
Olive oil (ordinary, non-extra virgin is fine)
A couple of teaspoons of Pimenton picante (smoked hot Spanish paprika), or more to taste
1/2 teaspooon dried chilli flakes
A few drops of Tabasco or similar hot pepper sauce
Chopped tomatoes – 1 tin for every 4 people
>Fry the slices of potato in the olive oil until they start to soften
>Sprinkle over the pimenton, chilli flakes and stir so they stick to the potatoes
>Then add your chopped tomatoes, Tabasco and a teaspoon or so of the salt flakes to season
>Stir and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through and the flavours are combined.
Then serve stuffed peppers. The menu gets lighter towards the end here as your guests get more and more full! This is adapted from a Mary Colgan recipe which can be found on the BBC Good Food website.
Stuffed Romano Peppers recipe:
Serves 4 as a tapas
2 Romano peppers, halved and de-seeded
Cooking olive oil
1 slice bread
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 tbsp grated Manchego
1 fresh chilli, deseeded and chopped
2 tsp capers
Good handful parsley, roughly chopped
>Heat oven to 190C / gas 5
>Season then roast the halved peppers in a little olive oil. They need 20 minutes in the oven
>Toast the bread then crumble into breadcrumbs (a food processor is useful here but I don’t have one)
>Mix with the rest of the ingredients.
>Once the peppers are done, stuff them with the breadcrumb mixture and return to the oven for 15 minutes.
The last savoury course on this menu is a salad. By this point your guests will be almost as heavily stuffed as the peppers. Just serve a very basic green salad (romaine lettuce leaves or even baby spinach), mixed with some slices of red onion and dressed with a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil and either lemon juice or sherry vinegar. Alternatively, if it’s in season and cheap/you can afford it, you could serve up a mass quantity of thick white or green asparagus shoots. If it’s not deemed too rich by To this stage in the meal you, have them with some serrano ham. Just blanch or boil them and season them with salt and pepper. I don’t like messing with asparagus. In my experience, so many people don’t like asparagus – completely ridiculous of them, but that’s why I suggest the salad.
To finish, you may want to serve this fantastic recipe for chocolate pots from Ben Tish:
Alternatively, just have some fresh fruit salad, or as we did, suck the remaining sangria out of the oranges and have some ice cream! Balls to convention at this point – you should be too full and too drunk to care!