Tapas, a taste of Spain

A taste of Spain
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Tapas, a Spanish appetiser, is known around the globe for its umpteen forms. The affordable snack once preferred with beer has now become a complete dining experience in itself.

Tortilla (a thick omelette made with potatoes and eggs), octopus with a paprika and olive oil sauce… tapas are snacks or appetizers, ranging from several bites joined with a toothpick to a hot small dish served in a miniature casserole or plate. Originally from Andalucía, the mother region of fl amenco as well, they can now be Spain found everywhere in numerous forms.

In the Basque Country, tapas are served with toothpicks: and eaten as much as desired, the server counts the number of toothpicks on table and demands to be paid accordingly. In Andalucía, tapas are served for free if you order a beer!

The evolution of tapas is also very interesting. It originally began as a way of eating inexpensively. The guests were allowed to share hot or cold appetizers before a larger meal. Today, Spaniards enjoy tapas as a complete meal, ordering several different dishes to share at the same table. Some restaurants and bars offer more elaborated options, and although the idea of inexpensive meal is somehow lost, the experience of tasting different flavors a to nce is fascinating along with being a visual treat. The word tapa comes from the verb ’tapar’, which literally means to cover.

It is said that, at the beginning, tapas were slices of bread or meat Andalusians used to cover their beer or wine with to prevent flies hovering over them. While eating jam and meat, they became thirsty and ordered more drinks. Bartenders and bar owners decided then to create a variety of small dishes to accompany the drinks, and so the tradition began.

The variety makes the difference

Eating tapas is never boring. They encourage conversation and sharing among guests, and prevent focusing on the plate you have in front of you. The Spanish culture is well-known for its open mind, willingness to socialize and the cheerfulness of its people. And tapas represent all that!

While visiting Spain, one can find almost the same tapas everywhere, as they are a staple in every cuisine. However, each region and each restaurant or bar has its own unique specialties and traditions, so even though Spanish people have been eating tapas for years, there is always something new cooking on the stove.

Tapas come in many different forms, but there are some traditional dishes that any visitor should taste at least once before leaving. One of the main dishes of Spanish culture is tortilla española. It is served alone, accompanied with meat or even between two slices of bread. Made with potato, onion and egg, it is a nourishing food that can be served cold or hot. Other traditional dishes are Serrano ham and manchego cheese, fried squid, ham croquettes or red peppers with anchovies. There is something for everyone, whether you prefer meat, seafood or vegetables.

Make your own tapas!

Of course, Spaniards love to go outside and enjoy some food at a terrace while taking in the sun. However, they also enjoy having guests for dinner and preparing delicious meals for friends and family. In this issue we bring to you three recipes so you can relish on some of the most famous tapas from around the globe. Get the ingredients, open some drinks, and let the cooking begin!

Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas

Patatas bravas are a classic of the Spanish cuisine. They can taste as spic y as you want and are simple an d quick to prepare.

Serves 4

• 4 medium potatoes
• Olive oil for frying
• A regular can of tomato sauce
• 1 tsp mustard
• 1 t spTabas co sauce or any other hot sauce
• 1 tsp paprika
• Salt to taste

Peel the potatoes, cut them into medium size pieces and wash them. Put some olive oil on a frying pan and let it heat up before frying the potatoes in it .

While they are frying, mix t he tomato sauce, mustard, paprika, salt and Tabasco to taste in a bowl or small pan. Once the mixture is homogeneous, heat it up slowly.When the potatoes are read y, place them on a platter or dish and pour the sauce over them.

Ham Croquettes

Ham Croquettes

Ham Croquettes

Spanish croquetas are a dough portion fried with a mix of various ingredients, like chicken or cod, even if the best ones are the Serrano ham croquettes. They are easy to make, but take some time, so be sure you are not in a hurry…

Serves 6
• 100 gr. butter
• 100 gr. flour
• 200 gr. Serrano ham
• 1 onion
• 1 garlic clove
• 1 liter of milk

For the batter:
• Flour
• 3 whipped eggs
• Grated bread
• Extra virgin olive oil

Slice the butter and heat it up on a pan. Chop the onion, ham and garlic clove and add them to the butter. Fry all ingredients slightly for a few minutes. Add flour and mix well. Then slowly pour the milk without stopping mixing. Work this dough for about 20 minutes.

Extend the dough over a flat surface, apply some butter so it does not harden and let it cool. When the dough is ready, cut and mould the croquettes into an oval shape. Cover them in flour, dip them in battered egg and roll them over grated bread. Fry them for some minutes, and then drain the excess of olive oil.

Garlic Shrimp

Garlic Shrimp

Garlic Shrimp

The gambas al ajillo dish is one of the most eaten tapas in Spain. Quick and easy to make, they surprise everyone thanks to its rich garlic flavor.

Serves 4

• 400 gr. shrimp. The best variety are small and white. You can also use frozen shrimps.
• 4 garlic clovers
• Half chili pepper
• 50 cc olive oil
• Salt to taste
• Parsley

Peel and cut both the garlic cloves and the chili pepper. Put them in a frying pan and fry them on a medium flame. Remove the shrimp’s heads and shells and add them to the frying pan.

Let it cook for a few minutes.
Finally, add some salt and parsley and stir gently for some more minutes.

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