Tapas: cute little shareable bites
You don’t have to be a dinner-party extraordinaire to host an amazing get together. I find one of the easiest ways to host a party is to pick a theme. Tonight, we’re taking our entertaining cue from the Spaniards by serving tapas. What better way to transport your guests to another county (albeit just for one night). My husband and I recently visited Portugal & Spain. We don’t go often, but every visit to Europe feels like home. I love the culture. I love the people. And of course, I love the food! Europe just does it right. Hosting a Spanish Tapas Party is a fun way to create an atmosphere where people want to sit, relax and stay a while. These dishes can be made ahead of time so all you have to do when your guests arrive is set the table, warm up your small plates in the oven or stove top and pour the wine. Find a Spanish Guitar station on Pandora and you are ready to go. Here are some ideas and recipes to inspire your very own Tapas Party. Cheers to vino tinto, sangria and tapas!
The Cheese Does Not Stand Alone. Nor should it!
I bought these mini cutting boards at HomeGoods. I’m slightly obsessed with them and making mini charcuterie boards. I think a cheese board (mini or not) is the perfect way to kick off your Spanish Tapas Party. The best part? They are super easy! Visit your local cheese shop or grocery store and pick up a few Spanish Cheeses. Here are a few good options:
MANCHEGO: one of the most popular of the Spanish cheeses. It’s firmer in texture with a slightly nutty taste. I like to serve this cheese alongside a small scoop of fig preserves.
CABRALES: the Spanish Blue cheese. Soft and Sharp. I usually pair with a drizzle of honey.
MAHON: simply delicious. Slightly sharp and salty. I like to slice it very thin and drizzle with good quality Olive Oil.
To finish the boards, add Marcona Almonds and an assortment of Spanish olives. Serve with crackers and bread. Yum!
- 12 Whole Medjool Dates (Pits Removed)
- 6 Slices of Thick Cut Bacon (cut in half)
- Goat Cheese
- Cut a slit down the top of each date (removing pits if necessary)
- Stuff a teaspoon of goat cheese into the date
- Close the date (the goat cheese acts like glue)
- Wrap each goat cheese stuffed date with half a slice of bacon
- Secure the date with a toothpick and place on a foil-lined baking sheet
- Place dates into oven and set at 350 degrees
- Cook for 20-25 minute or until the bacon is nice and crisp (depending on the thickness of your bacon, this could require additional cook time.).
- Let cool, plate and serve!
For the Potatoes
- 2 large russet potatoes, peeled, rinsed, and diced into cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Sauce
- ⅓ cup of olive oil
- 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
- 2 tsp Sweet smoked paprika
- 1 Tbs flour
- 1 cup of chicken broth
- Salt to taste
To Make the Potatoes
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, toss together potatoes, oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Pour potatoes onto baking sheet in an even layer.
- Bake on the middle rack in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Flip the potatoes halfway through the cooking process.
To Make the Sauce
- Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Remove pan from heat
- Add hot & sweet smoked paprika, combine until they form a paste.
- Stir in the flour
- Add the broth to the mixture little by little, stirring constantly.
- Once sauce is smooth, season with salt to taste.
- Pour over the baked potatoes
Mussels With Chorizo, Tomato and Wine
- 8 ounces ground Chorizo (casing removed)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 Shallots, Chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 cup white wine (the cheaper, the better)
- 1 1/2 cups fish stock (vegetable or chicken stock work great too)
- One 14-1/2-ounce can of Diced tomatoes
- 2- 3 pounds fresh mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Chopped parsley for garnish
- Fresh bread for dipping.
- In a large sauté pan or Dutch oven, brown the chorizo over medium-high heat. Remove with a slotted spoon, set aside. Reserve a little bit of fat in the pan and drain the rest.
- Over Medium heat, add butter. Once melted, sauté onion, shallots and garlic until veggies are tender.
- Deglaze the pan with white wine, allowing to simmer for a minute.
- Add fish stock and tomatoes and bring back to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce heat and let the sauce marinate for about an hour or so.
- When ready to eat, drop the mussels and cover to steam until the mussels open (3 to 4 minutes).
- Add the cream and stir.
- Sprinkle with parsley.
- Serve immediately with plenty of bread for dipping.
At the end of the night, it’s nice to serve everyone a bite of chocolate. I’m a big fan of Whole Foods’ Organic Truffles. They are available in dark chocolate hazelnut, caramel, cappuccino and chocolate. They are absolutely delicious. Serve with Café con leche.