Passions of Spain: Tapas

Tapas are a wide variety of appetizers in Spanish cuisine. They may be cold such as mixed olives and cheese, or warm like battered or baked chorizo, meatballs and potatoes. In Spain, patrons of tapas can order many different tapas and combine them to make a full meal.

The word “tapas” is derived from the Spanish verb tapar, “to cover.” It is common to place a small plate of tapas atop your wine glass, making it convenient to stand and move about while enjoying your food. It’s a great party food and light fare designed to encourage conversation between people.

A great Manchego, olives, Serrano Ham and Picos are essential, traditional delicacies. Create your own Passion of Spain at your next get together! Keep reading to get ideas for a tapas menu.

Albóndigas – meatballs with sauce

Banderillas, or pinchos de encurtidos – cold tapas made from small food items pickled in vinegar and skewered together. Piparras consist of pickled items, like olives, baby onions, baby cucumbers, chiles with pieces of pepper and other vegetables.

Boquerones – white anchovies served in vinegar

Chorizo al vino – chorizo sausage slowly cooked in wine

Empanadillas – turnovers filled with meats and vegetables

Gambas – prawns sauteed in salsa negra (peppercorn sauce), al ajillo (with garlic), or pil-pil (with chopped chili peppers)

Patatas bravas or papas bravas – fried potato dices (sometimes parboiled and then fried, or simply boiled) served with salsa brava, a spicy sauce

Pimientos de Padrón – small green peppers originally from Padrón that are fried in olive oil

Setas al Ajillo – fresh mushrooms sauteed with olive oil and garlic

Tortilla de patatas or tortilla española containing fried chunks of potatoes