Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Tapas are good. In our family we like tapas. Of course, I had already tried tapas before I met Pa, but he is still the expert.

This month's challenge on the A Taste of the Mediterranean site is, you guessed it, tapas!

Tapas are different across Spain -- there are regional specialties, such as more fish in some areas, and more fritura in others. The size of the serving varies from place to place as well. For example, in San Sebastian, you can order an individual slice of bread with a bit of shellfish, while in Madrid you typically order a whole plate of your favorite tapa and share. In Barcelona, where I first had tapas, I remember papas bravas and escalivada being all the rage. In the South in Seville, tapas are individual servings on small plates.

One of my favorite tapas is one that Pa introduced me to -- Espinacas al Rinconcillo. Now, I've written about this before, and I make it a lot, because spinach is good for us, and this is delicious!

Saute a chopped onion and a bit of garlic in good olive oil, and add 1 tablespoon of curry. When I made the spinach in these photos here, I used za'atar, and it was perfectly savory and spicy.

Add 1 cup of cooked white beans, cannellini or garbanzos, to the saute for a couple of minutes and then add 2 lbs of spinach. Continue on high heat, stirring, until spinach is wilted and sauce is thick and delicious.

Serve with flatbread or breadsticks.

One of my next favorites is one that I had for the first time in Seville, but I don't think Pa was there -- Queso en aceite.

This works best with an aged cheese. Manchego aged 12 months is a nice choice. Parmesan would also work.

Slice the cheese into single, triangular slices and lest sit 2-3 days covered in good-quality olive oil. I use a jar, as you can see here. Add a few spices, not much, just a few peppercorns and maybe a bay leaf.

To serve, remove cheese from oil and let excess oil drip off. Arrange cheese triangles on a plate and serve with some nice bread for sopping up the extra oil. Yum!

And the third one for this post is Papas Alioli. This is one of my mother-in-law's specialties (she has a great many specialties, but this recipe is actually my father's!).

Make alioli by mincing 5 cloves of garlic very fine and mixing with 1 cup of mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard.

Red potatoes work very nicely for this -- boil 1.5 pounds of potatoes, and when cool enough, slice and quarter. Toss with a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar before dressing with alioli. Add chopped celery, chopped bell pepper, and sliced radishes, and stir in alioli until creamy and delicious! Make sure you don't eat this on the day before an important meeting!

Here's a picture of me enjoying my tapas. (Note the fashionably square glasses and dark eyebrows!)


Mama Goose said...

These look wonderful!

Antonio Tahhan said...

miles de disculpa por la tardanza. These tapas really look wonderful and what I enjoyed most of all is that they are new to me. I thought the addition of the za'tar was great! Thanks for participating - look out for an e-mail from me this week :D