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How to Throw a Tapas Evening

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by Helenonthesofa (subscribe)
Freelance writer, mum of two who loves living in sunny Perth.
Published April 3rd 2012
Having got a little bored recently with dishing up the same old meals when we've had guests, I decided to try my hand at throwing together all of my favourite tapas combinations, and wanted to share this easy format for entertaining guests.

Tapas for all
Yummy Tapas


In spanish cuisine, tapas is basically the serving of a wide variety or snacks; cold, hot, savoury, sweet, meat, fish, vegetable and a whole of host of minature yummies. My favourite tapas ever heralded from North Spain (Basque Country), where most pubs and bars serve their tapas with a toothpick through their centre and at the end of of evening you'd simply pay for your tapas based on the number of the different (colour coded) toothpicks you had left. This was particularly handy on many a sangria blurred evening.


What I love about entertaining on a tapas basis is that it is a surprisingly low maintenance evening. It's essentially about producing lots of different nibbles all yummy enough to tempt the casual partygoer.

The other additional positive is that you can ask guests to bring a tapas dish with them; there is no worry of clashing dishes or someone bringing the wrong dish; tapas dishes just have this way of blending together to provide a real visual and gastromic feast. With tapas, you can also stagger the timing of when dishes are brought out to the table. It's not typically a sit down meal, so no rushed panics to ensure every meal component comes out at exactly the same time. Even in my favourite tapas restaurants, the mini offerings are served as they become ready.

For my favourite tapas evening, for about 6-8 guests, I would choose a good 6 or so tapas dishes that you know how to cook easily and without hassle, and serve this together with a selection of olives, a salad , some garlic breads and perhaps a plate of spanish charcuterie (think jamon, cecina, chorizo and butifarro) - attack your local deli counter's cured meat section.

spanish meat selection
Cured Meats Anyone?



My Favourite Tapas Recipes:

Patatas Bravas - the staple side dish for all of my tapas evenings.
Croquettas de Pollo - yummy morsels of creamy chicken in breadcrumbs.
Baked Chorizo, Feta and Olives - easiest side dish ever.
Deep Fried Camembert - heavenly mouthfuls of molten cheese
Spinach and Ricotta Parcels - delicious baked filled triangles

Serve all of the above with a selection of your favourite chutneys and some wonderful garlic aioli.

For my husband, I would also add a dish of garlic prawns. I'm not going to give you a recipe for this one as they are just so easy to make; just pan fry the prawns in garlic butter until they are cooked. Too easy. Don't skimp on the garlic butter.

Low maintenance, but oh such an impressive array of food. Try it for your next dinner party. Just don't forget the sangria and the cava, and you'll have a great night!
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Why? Cooking tapas is a fun and easy way to entertain your friends
When: Any night you fancy tapas
Where: Coming to your dining room real soon
Cost: varies - as little as $3 for a dish of tapas
Your Comment
Yum, and a great idea... Especially the part where you suggest guests bring a dish as well.
by Shannon Meyerkort (score: 3|1773) 1167 days ago
Just reading your recipes I know they will work. I have visited Spain several times, and also had Spanish students in my home for one year at a time, so I have a lot of mum's recipes. But tapas are so amazing and easy. Did you know that they are quite a hit in India these days?
by jeash (score: 1|12) 1910 days ago
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