Tapas time!

May 27, 2009

Three tapas on blue tray

When Mary Lynn Mitcham, Chief Editor of Rockland Magazine asked me to do a feature on tapas, I was thrilled. After all, I simply adore tapas!

But what are tapas, exactly? Traditionally, they are little bites that accompany a glass of sherry or wine and served in bars all over Spain.

For Spaniards, going out for tapas is not so much about the food as it is a life style – a perfect way to mingle and socialize after work or while on a lunch break. Many tapas bars serve only the specialty of the house, so it’s not unusual for people to practice tapeo, or tapas bar-hopping. What I love most about the idea, though, is the spontaneity of it all — something that’s certainly very adaptable to home entertaining, and a whole lot of fun to boot!

Here’s a tapas menu that’s not only easy to assemble and makes a gorgeous spread, it’s also totally scrumptious. Click on Tapas Time to read the full feature. It’s filled with great tips and wine/sherry pairings. For the recipes, just scroll and enjoy!

If you cannot find the Spanish products used in these recipes in your local stores, check out Tienda.com. They have an enormous selection of exceptional, authentic Spanish products.

Spanish green olives stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes
Roasted marcona almonds
Grilled artichokes & piquillo peppers
Baked golden and red beets with anise vinaigrette
Blood orange & Valencia orange salad with olive vinaigrette
Spinach tortilla with pine nuts (Spanish omelet)
Cumin-crusted oven fries served with lemon mayonnaise (Spanish Alioli)
Manchego cheese with membrillo (quince paste)
Spanish almond cookies served with hot dark-chocolate shots

Wine pairing
Valdespino Inocente Fino Sherry and Deliciosa Manzanilla

Spanish olives stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes

Spanish Green Olives Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

serves 8
active time: 5 min

  1. 1 lb (455gr) large, Spanish green olives stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes (I also recommend olives stuffed with almonds, garlic, lemon or Piquillo Peppers)

  1. Spoon in 4 small dishes and serve.

tapas, spanish olives, sun-dried tomatoes

Marcona almonds

Roasted Marcona Almonds

serves 8
active time: 5 min

  1. 1 lb (455gr) roasted, salted marcona almonds

  1. Place in 4 small dishes and serve.

tapas, almonds, marcona

Artichokes and piquillo peppers

Grilled Artichokes and Piquillo Peppers

serves 8
active time: 10 min

  1. 1 lb (455gr) grilled artichoke heart in olive oil (or regular artichoke hearts), found in good Delis – drained and quartered
  2. 1-8 oz (227gr) jar fire roasted Piquillo Peppers (or roasted sweet red peppers) – cut in 1/16” julienne strips
  3. Spanish extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

  1. Divide the artichoke hearts amongst 4 small bowl. Garnish with the Piquillo pepper strips, drizzle with a little olive oil and serve.

tapas, grilled artichokes, piquillo peppers

Two-color beet salad with anise vinaigrette

Baked Golden and Red Beets with Anise Vinaigrette

serves 4
active time: 20 min

For the vinaigrette

  1. 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (preferably 50 years old)
  2. 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom honey
  3. 1 shallot – skinned and finely chopped
  4. 1 teaspoon anise seeds – crushed in a mortar
  5. 3 tablespoons Spanish extra virgin olive oil
  6. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  7. freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the beets

  1. 3 medium baked red beetroots
  2. 3 medium baked golden beetroots
  1. fresh parsley leaves as garnish

  1. Step 1: In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, shallots, anise seeds, olive oil, salt and pepper until well blended. Set aside.
  2. Step 2: Peel and cut beets in 1/2” cubes. Place the red beets in one bowl and the golden beets in another. Drizzle each bowl with half the vinaigrette and toss well. Let stand at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes. To serve, transfer each beet mixture into its own serving bowl. Garnish with fresh parsley leaves and serve.

salad, beet, anise

Blood Orange and Valencia Orange Salad with Olive Vinaigrette

Blood Orange and Valencia Orange Salad with Olive Vinaigrette

serves 8
active time: 20 min

For the vinaigrette

  1. 2 tablespoons finely chopped kalamata olives
  2. 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (use microplane grater)
  3. 1/2 garlic clove – skinned and crushed (use microplane grater)
  4. 1 tablespoon aged sherry vinegar (preferably 50 years old)
  5. 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  6. 4 tablespoons Spanish extra virgin olive oil
  7. 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  8. freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the salad

  1. 1 Valencia orange (or navel orange)
  2. 2 blood oranges (or tangerines)
  3. 1 large handful baby arugula or mâche
  4. freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Step 1: For the vinaigrette – Place all ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk and set aside.
  2. Step 2: Cut the peel off the oranges down to the flesh. Cut each orange in half, remove the pitch and cut crosswise in 1/8” slices. Set aside.
  3. Step 3: Divide the arugula or mâche onto 2 or 3 plates. Top with the orange slices. Drizzle with the vinaigrette. Finish with freshly ground black pepper and serve.

salad, blood orange, olive vinaigrette

Spinach Tortilla

Spinach Tortilla with Pine Nuts

makes 2 small tortillas or serves 8
active time: 40 min

For the spinach

  1. 1 tablespoon sea salt for blanching
  2. 1 large bunch spinach (12 oz) (340gr) – stems trimmed, thoroughly washed and spun dry

For the tortilla

  1. 3 tablespoons Spanish extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1 large Spanish onion – skinned, quartered and finely sliced
  3. 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  4. 2 large garlic cloves – skinned and minced
  5. 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
  6. 6 large organic eggs
  7. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  8. freshly ground black pepper to taste
  9. olive oil for the omelet pan

  1. Step 1: Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with cold water and several ice cubes. When the water is boiling, add the salt and the spinach leaves, pushing them down so that all the leaves are submerged in the boiling water. Boil for 30 seconds. The leaves should be bright green. Drain and transfer to the bowl filled with iced water. When the spinach is totally cooled, drain, squeeze all extra liquid out and lay on paper towels. Chop the spinach roughly and place in a bowl.
  2. Step 2: Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and onions and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes until pale-golden. Add the pine nuts and sauté for 2 more minutes until the pine nuts are golden. Add the garlic and cayenne. Toss well and sauté for an additional 30 seconds. Add the spinach and 1/4 teaspoon salt, toss again and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Step 3: In a large bowl place the eggs, balance of salt, and black pepper to taste. Whisk vigorously only a few times until barely mixed. Add the onion/spinach mixture and stir with a wooden spoon.
  4. Step 4: Heat a small non-stick skillet (about 7”) over medium-high heat. Add a little olive just to cover the pan (about 1 tablespoon) and pour half the egg/spinach mixture into the pan. Shake the pan vigorously for a few seconds so the eggs line the pan evenly. Continue to sauté for 1 minute undisturbed and then reduce heat to medium. Continue sautéing until the eggs are firm on the edges but still wobbly in the center, and the bottom is golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. Invert the tortilla unto a plate and slide it back into to pan top-side-down. Continue cooking until the bottom is just set, only about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer to a small plate and repeat the process with the balance of the egg/spinach mixture to make 2 small tortillas. Serve warm or at room temperature.

omelet, tortilla, spinach

Cumin-crusted oven-fries

Cumin-Crusted Oven Fries served with Lemon Mayonnaise (Spanish Alioli)

serves 8
active time: 15 min

  1. 2 1/4 lbs (1 kg) russet potatoes (4 medium)
  2. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  3. 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  4. 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  5. freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. 1/2 cup lemon mayonnaise (Spanish Alioli)
  2. 1 large non-stick jellyroll pan

  1. Preheat oven to 475ºF (245ºC).
  2. Step 1: Scrub the potatoes but do not peel them. Cut lengthwise in 1/2” wedges.
  3. Step 2: Place the potato slices on the jellyroll pan. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the cumin seeds, salt and pepper. Toss well then spread the slices in a single layer, cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes until tender. Remove aluminum foil, flip over each slice. Return tray to oven and continue baking uncovered for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until golden-brown. Remove from oven and serve piping hot, with the mayonnaise on the side.

side vegetable, potatoes, cumin

Manchego and menbrillo

Manchego Cheese with Membrillo

serves 8
active time: 20 min

  1. 1 1/2 lbs (680gr) Manchego cheese – remove rind and cut in 3/4” cubes
  2. 6 oz (170gr) membrillo (quince paste) – cut in 1/4” cubes

  1. Place a membrillo cube on top of each Manchego cube and insert a toothpick trough both. Place on 4 small plates and serve.

tapas, manchego, membrillo

Picture above, courtesy of Rockland Magazine

Spanish Almond Cookies served with Hot Dark-Chocolate Shots

makes 2 cups or 8 servings
active time: 15 min

  1. 1 1/2 cups half & half
  2. 12 oz (340gr) Spanish dark chocolate (72% Cocoa) – cut in 1″ chunk
  3. 1/4 cup Orange Blossom or Lavender honey
  1. 2 lbs (910gr) assorted Spanish almond cookies

  1. Step 1: In a small pan, bring half & half to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the chocolate chunks. Let stand until the chocolate has melted, about 4 to 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth, then add the honey and continue whisking until well incorporated.
  2. Step 2: Pour in shot glasses and serve with the Spanish almond cookies.
  3. Cook’s note: The sauce can be made up to 5 days ahead and kept refrigerated. To warm up, heat in a double boiler over medium heat until melted and warm.

For many more recipes (and videos!), check out Food & Style Club!

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dessert, hot chocolate, almond cookies

There’re many other wonderful hors d’oeuvres and tapas on this blog. To take a peek, click here.

© 2011 Viviane Bauquet Farre Food & Style NY LLC

Disclaimer: As always, my point of view is my own. I do not accept samples, and have no commercial relationship with any product, food or wine company.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Lili (Elisabeth) Jacobs June 3, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Particularly like the blue glass serving plate in top pix. Goes well with the beautifully arranged and delicious looking Tapas!


Viviane Bauquet Farre June 3, 2009 at 3:31 pm

I love that dreamy serving tray too! Thanks Lili…


Julie Fordyce June 19, 2011 at 3:17 pm

This is the best aioli sauce. I make it all the time now.


Viviane June 21, 2011 at 9:24 am

Julie! I am so delighted… I must say it’s a favorite here too! I adore it with the cumin-crusted potatoes.


J July 29, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Would you please explain how ‘refined’ canola oil differs from the regular kind? Is it somewhat like extra-virgin olive oil compared to regular olive oil?

I have regular canola (and the other ingredients) on hand, but will wait to purchase the refined version if you say that the difference makes a difference :-).

Thanks so much!! A fabulous web site that I just found – and of course signed up for your newsletter.

Cheers from J


Viviane July 30, 2011 at 2:31 am

J, Thank you so much for stopping by and for your comment. Refined oils are the kinds that have been filtered to remove all impurities. These oils have less flavor than the unrefined oils and they also have a higher smoking-point (not that that’s needed to make mayonnaise!). The only reason I use refined oil in the alioli is that it has virtually no flavor and doesn’t mask the taste of the olive oil used in the alioli, which is more desirable to my taste buds. Using regular canola oil would be absolutely fine. And I would gladly use 100% olive oil to make the alioli, but unfortunately it doesn’t work as well on its own.

Thank you also for your kind words – I am thrilled you are enjoying the site. Happy cooking and happy eating too!


J August 1, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Thank you, Viviane :-)

I’ll definitely wait to purchase the refined canola oil before making it … because I really want to taste the aliola as you intended it!



Viviane August 3, 2011 at 8:53 am

You are so sweet J, Do let me know how the alioli turns out… I hope you make the cumin fries with it – perhaps one of my favorite tapa ever! Happy cooking!


Donna Ford April 2, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Wow! Everything looks so good. I look forward to making the Tapas for my family thank you!
Tapas bar hopping, I’ve never heard of that. Sounds fun!


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