Cooking School – Tapas Party

By / Food / June 15th, 2010 / Like

Tapas are Spanish snacks. Perfect for cocktail parties; they also make great dinner party fare. Why cook appetizers, an entrée, sides and dessert when you can provide a whole array of snacks (some of which are quite substantial)?Tapas provide a great opportunity to sample from a wide variety of foods. The spread can be as modest or elaborate as you’re willing to go depending on the occasion.

In Spain, tapas are the gap-fillers between lunch and the traditionally late dinner hour. They provide just the right amount of sustenance to keep hunger pangs at bay without ruining your appetite. At least, they do that if you limit how many you eat! As party fare, expect to offer between two and four tapas per person. As the number of guests increases, you won’t have to expand the size of the recipe. Instead, just add more variety to the table by introducing different tapas.

Making a huge variety of tapas sounds like a daunting task. But, there are a number of shortcuts that produce exquisite results.

• pick up some ready-to-eat products, like a variety of fruit, black olives, assorted breads, a selection of cheese and cured meats
• assemble food that cooks on skewers the day before and store them in the refrigerator

Here a few delicious recipes to try.

Grilled Andouille Sausage
1 lb Andouille (or Polish) sausages

Slice sausages into 3-inch sections. Thread sections onto 12 or 16 inch skewers. Run another skewer through the sausage sections, parallel to the first, to hold the meat flat. Grill until sausages are hot in the centre and slightly browned, about 4 minutes per side. Push off skewers; slice into 1 inch thick pieces.

Grilled Shrimp
Allow at least 2 large shrimp (31 to 35 per pound)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced

Thread shrimp crosswise through 12 to 16 inch skewer. Run a second skewer through the shrimp, parallel to the first, to hold them flat. In a small bowl, combine oil, and garlic; stir and set aside. Grill until shrimp are bright pink, about 4 minutes per side; brush several times with garlic baste.

Grilled Bell Pepper Strips
1 each large green, red and yellow bell pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced

Cut peppers lengthwise into 1-1/2 inch wide strips. Thread peppers onto skewers. In a bowl combine oil and garlic; stir and set aside. Grill peppers, basting frequently with garlic dressing.

Pair tapas with Spanish sherries, such as Fino, Manzanilla, Amontillado or Oloroso. Or, try some wine such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. Serve a bottle of sparkling water alongside the other drinks.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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