Question: What is better than a delicious plate full of food? Answer: Several delicious plates of food of course. The reason we love Spanish tapas so much is that we get to experience a whole range of tastes and textures in one sitting – a nibble of prawn and a spoonful of pork stew, a bite of omelette and loads of crusty bread to mop up all the juices.
Tapas, served as a meal, also has a relaxed feel to it that is perfect for entertaining. You can slowly graze, picking at some food then pausing to drink and chat before moving on to a different taste.
Having said that Will and me enjoyed this mini feast to ourselves with a bottle of Vino Tinto and we also had a starter and dessert – the word pigs springs to mind.
The starter was a favourite of Wills, roasted red peppers stuffed with cream cheese (although this time I stuffed them with a mix of ricotta and feta, which was what I had in the house, it is nice with cream cheese and chopped herbs). I placed them on a plate with rocket and some jamon Serrano. A great nibbly starter that doesn’t fill you up too much.
The first tapas dish was patatas bravas. I follow a delicious recipe of Simon Rimmer’s which you can find on my post called ‘Tapas for two’ in the August 2008 archive – you really must try it, it is so delicious. Then for a lighter dish I sliced some courgettes lengthways griddled them until charred but not floppy then dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and a good grinding of salt and pepper.
A dish that was a real success was one I came up with while on holiday in Spain, and I have to admit it did taste better over there because they had deliciously soft cannellini beans, good quality chorizo and juicy tomatoes.
To make it fry half a finely chopped white onion in some olive oil until it starts to soften, then add a finely chopped clove of garlic and fry for a few more minutes. Add some chorizo in large slices and cook until it releases it gorgeous red oils. If you like add one or two chopped juicy tomatoes at this stage and cooked for a few minutes. Throw in some cannellini beans or butter beans and warm through, then serve with crusty bread.
Lastly I did some garlic prawns, something you tend to find on most Spanish menus and which invariably tastes delicious with their fresh prawns, but didn’t taste so great with my slightly rubbery supermarket prawns. Just fry some slices of garlic in plenty of oil, then cook the raw prawns until they turn pink, squeeze in a little drop of lemon juice, season, then throw in some freshly chopped parsley and serve in a shallow dish – but definitely get good quality prawns!