In Spanish cuisine, tapas refers to a variety of appetizers or snacks. Originally, a tapa was served as a lid or covering (literally balancing on the glass) to accompany a drink. Tapas now come in all shapes and sizes and have become an art in themselves, but we still love the most simple dishes that are easy to prepare and pair brilliantly with a drink. Here’s a list of our top ten (10) favourite tapas dishes.
- Gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp) is a popular dish you’ll find in most Spanish restaurants, consisting of shrimp sautéed with minced garlic, lemon juice, paprika, and olive oil. Simply garnish the dish with parsley and serve with crusty bread, which is essential for dunking in the garlicky oil. This recipe is simple and easy to cook in no time at all.
- Spanish omelette or tortilla de patatas is an omelette made with eggs, potatoes and onions. It is considered as a favourite, classic Spanish dish for good reason. Made lovingly with few ingredients, it makes the perfect dish for a brunch, light dinner for guests, snack, party or picnic food (such as a bocadillo de tortilla). However, there’s an art to making it; it’s easy to master if you follow the directions in this simple recipe.
- Patatas bravas is a regular on any tapas menu as it’s a true crowd pleaser. It’s made with cubed potato covered with spicy tomato sauce and often served with aioli and sometimes other toppings like chorizo on the side. If you are looking to make this dish, LCBO has the most delicious patatas bravas recipe
- Anchovies on toast are a tapas favourite in Spain and while super simple, they look very elegant and add a salty kick to your tapas selection. Simply toast bread (typically the regular sliced variety), cut it into thin slices, preferably the same size as the anchovies, and then butter the slices. After this, drain the anchovies and lay an anchovy on each piece of toast and serve. The most important part to this tapa is making sure you use the best anchovies you can find, it really does make all the difference.
- Charcuteria is a magnificent tapas dish in its own right and who doesn’t love a beautifully presented charcuterie board? From chorizo, to lomo, to jamon, served with bread and maybe some Spanish olives it all combines to make edible magic. Use your charcuterie board to create a magnificent, delectable spread that is ready to serve.
- Manchego with quince jelly is a much loved tapa that is easy to make and delicious. Manchego is a kind of hard cheese made from sheep’s milk while quince is a sweet, thick, jelly made from the pulp of the quince fruit. To prepare, cut manchego into triangles and then cut a similar sized slice of quince jelly and serve it on top of each piece. Arrange on a plate in a fan shape.
- Gazpacho is a cold summer soup consisting of tomatoes, finely chopped cucumbers, onions, peppers, croutons, vinegar, and olive oil. There are many varieties gazpacho varieties and it’s typically served in the summer, and often in a small glass. Do you want to know what these are? Read more about Gazpacho on the Hog’s Blog.
- Conservas (such as cockles with lemon) is another of our top tapas dishes. They are so easy! Simply open a can of cockles and add a squeeze of lemon juice and serve directly from the can. You can find high-quality cockles at the Spanish Pig store online.
- Croquetas de jamón are small Spanish fritters that are crispy outside and creamy on the inside. A thick variety of buttery béchamel sauce is formed into small spheres, coated in breadcrumbs and egg, and fried until golden and crunchy. Spanish croquetas are made from different ingredients but the jamón version is the most popular of them all. With this recipe, you can make your very own Croquetas de Jamón.
- Pimientos de Padrón are small, bright green peppers that are usually mild in flavor, but watch out because you will find the occasional spicy pepper. To prepare Pimientos de Padrón, wash peppers and heat up pan with oil. Then, fry peppers whole in the hot oil until the skin becomes golden brown with a crinkled surface. Do not despair if some are slightly dark. Before serving, add a pinch of sea salt and eat them whole – they taste amazing. In Canada, you can find these in most grocery stores and they usually called shishito peppers.
Try making one or all ten of these tapas dishes; your taste buds are in for quite a treat!