Putting on a Tapas Spread?
Putting on a tapas spread? These easy to make tapas recipes are my favourites.
The tapas-style of eating has undergone a bit of a revolution here in the UK in recent years. We have had some excellent restaurants serving tapas for many years but they are few and far between.
Cafes, bars and gastropubs have sprung up all over serving small portions of food alongside a drink. What has changed is the quality of the food. The days of the soggy roll and dried out curled up ham sandwich has gone thank goodness.
Where Can I Buy The Ingredients?
The biggest change is the availability of ingredients needed to make authentic tapas dishes at home.
We have had Italian style deli’s for years, but now the supermarkets like M&S and Sainsbury’s have caught up with our need to have a taste of Spanish cooking and are selling good quality chorizo, pimenton, cheeses, cured meats and even Padron peppers!
You are still very unlikely to find double sucker octopus on the wet fish counter and you will probably have to substitute fresh cockles for almejas clams but for the determined, there is mail order.
For those like me who live in central London, we have Brindisa in Borough Market.
Find out more about Brindisa and what they sell here.
Other Recipes You Maybe Interested in …..
I couldn’t decide on which single tapa is my favourite or even a top 10 as I like all these tapas recipes so much. So as they say in the X-factor here they are in no particular order.
Sauteed Chorizo with Red Wine
This sauteed chorizo with red wine is an authentic recipe for this tapas dish.
Let’s face it, chorizo sausage with all that smoked paprika and garlic is one of the best cooking ingredients ever invented and I love it.
Serrano Ham Croquetas
This easy croquetas de jamón Serrano recipe proves that the true trick to Spanish ham croquettes is time, patience, and a great arm for stirring the bechamel sauce!
Pimientos de Padrón
Any decent tapas bar or restaurant will have pimientos de Padrón on the menu.
They’re usually mild in flavour, with low levels of capsaicin. Every once in a while, however, you’ll bite into one that’s surprisingly spicy, making the act of eating them even more exciting.
Pulpo a La Gallega
Pulpo a la Gallega or Pulpo a Feira (Galician name meaning fair-style octopus) is a traditional dish from the region of Galicia.
If you can get some, use the imported double sucker octopus like the one from Brindisa. When cooked it is much more tender than our UK native octopus which is tough and rubbery.
Papas arrugadas are the classic Canarian wrinkled potatoes.
Brought over by explorers to South America in the 1600s and cultivated in the Canary Islands ever since you are sure to have had them on holiday there.
Now you can try and make them at home. We don’t have quite the right potatoes like papa Bonita from Gran Canaria but any small variety should do.
Tortilla de Patatas
Tortilla de patatas can be found in every Spanish home, cafe and restaurant. They all seem to have their own variation. From adding fried peppers or chorizo, onions or no onions, runny or dry, the list is endless.
Most non-Spaniards think that paella is Spain’s national dish. Whereas Spaniards themselves think of paella as a regional dish from Valencia on Spain’s east coast.
This simple paella recipe uses a mix of meat, seafood and colourful veg for a lively combination of flavours and textures.
Smoky albondigas aka Spanish meatballs. Make these Spanish meatballs using beef and pork mince and serve in a rich tomato sauce as part of a tapas spread.
Almejas a La Marinera
An authentic recipe for almejas a la marinera, often served as a Spanish appetizer at Christmas dinner. These Spanish style clams are addictive, so make lots!
Crispy Squid and Prawns
This crispy squid and prawns tapas recipe from Jamie Oliver is a great addition to any tapas spread.
You can use shop-bought chilli sauce or a dipping sauce, but give the homemade sauce in the recipe a go, it has some real kick!
Five Spice Dusted Whitebait
These delicious little whitebait deep fried in a spicy crispy coating make a great starter or tapas dish.