Welcome back! If you checked out my last blog post (which so so many of you did and I love you for it), you know that the first stop on my recent honeymoon to Europe was a gorgeous little trip to Barcelona. At the end of the post, I promised a little tutorial on how to make Spanish-style tapas. These little bites are so easy and fun to make, and can be real crowd pleasers when done right.
The great thing about tapas are that they can be a blank slate with which you make any number of different flavor combinations. The flavors I used were inspired by Spanish food that I had while in Barcelona – things like gouda, manchego, salami, and pickles or olives. However, you could take the basic idea of tapas and twist it to serve any palate. Mini meatballs covered in marinara on small slices of crostini? Gorg. Tex-Mex bean dip in little baby tortilla bowls? Perf. Sushi rice balls filled with pickled veggies and deep-fried? Honestly sounds a little difficult but if someone else makes it for me I’M THERE.
There’s a basic philosophy behind tapas: start with a base, add a few ingredients that harmonize perfectly together, throw on a toothpick to keep everything in place, and make enough to feed a small crowd. If you follow that, there’s no way you can go wrong. I chose a sweet tapa that combines fruit preserves with salty meat and creamy cheese, a salty tapa that offsets the sodium of salami with the bite of a pickle or olive, and a spicy tapa that is revered all throughout Spain (seriously, patatas bravas are EVERYWHERE). Take the basic recipes I have here and play around with them to fit your favorite flavors, and let me know what you come up with! Whether these start your next family reunion or accompany a World Cup watch party, they are sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Much like tapas themselves, this post was small and to the point. I’m trying to offset the fact that I rambled on for AGES in my Spain recap post, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to do the same thing next post. You just can’t get me to stop talking about travel! Stay tuned for more of my travels in the #OutOfTheKitchen section of the blog!
- 1/2 loaf French bread
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 oz prosciutto
- 3 oz soft cheese (I used brie)
- 1 small jar raspberry preserves
- 1/2 loaf French bread
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 oz salami
- 3 oz hard or semi-soft cheese (I used gouda)
- 1 pickle spear (OR 12 green olives)
- 2 russet potatoes (diced)
- 4 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
- 1 small yellow onion (sliced)
- 3 cloves garlic (finely diced)
- 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 Tbsp hot sauce (like Tobasco)
- 1 Tbsp Peri-Peri sauce (or your favorite hot sauce, especially if it contains citrus. You can always use another Tbsp of the other hot sauce you used)
Tapas de Pan
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Start by slicing the bread into 1/4" thick slices. Brush the bottoms with olive oil and toast in the oven for about 3 minutes, or until warm and crispy.
- For the sweet tapas, spread each slice with a little bit of preserves. Add a slice of prosciutto, and top with a slice of soft cheese. Hold everything in place with a toothpick.
- For the salty, add a slice of salami (tearing it up to make it fit on the slice of bread). Top with a slice of the hard or semi-soft cheese and an olive, if using. If you're an actual child like me and hate olives, you can slice a pickle spear into small chunks and use those in place of an olive.
- Start by frying the diced potatoes in 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry until golden brown and crispy, stirring occasionally to prevent the potatoes from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. This usually takes about 20 minutes.
- For the sauce, start with a large, deep skillet. Warm 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat, then cook the onion slices until tender (about 10 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for a further minute, stirring to prevent burning.
- Add the tomato sauce, water, and all of the remaining seasonings. Bring the sauce to a simmer and allow to thicken, about 15 minutes. Allow it to cool just a bit, then transfer to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Return the sauce to the skillet and warm over a low heat, adding any additional seasonings for an extra spicy sauce, if you prefer.
- When the sauce is warm and the potatoes are crispy, you're read to serve! We always had it served with the sauce on the side in Spain, but you're welcome to just pour the sauce right over the potatoes if you hate order and structure in your life. Now sit back and enjoy your little taste of Spain!
- I got my inspiration for the bravas sauce from this recipe, but like all things, I had to amp up the spice level for myself and throw in a little citrus because why not?
- Peri-Peri sauce is a delicious little concoction from Nando's, a spicy chicken restaurant that we had elsewhere on our honeymoon. We've been using the sauce for ages, and while you may not have a Nando's near you, you can find it with the other hot sauces in your local grocery chain.