The illusion that tapas is complicated is one that I’ve been under for quite some time. All those individual portions, all the different ingredients – it is simply not convenient, no?
Admittedly one of these dishes turned out to be quite a large portion, but we’ll forget about that for time being – the point is that tapas is really quite simple. It is, after all, the Spanish equivalent of bar-top peanuts. Minus the…you know. Why make it complicated?
So, if you have yourself some spare time (and you don’t need a whole lot of it) or just fancy something different for lunch, try out one or two of these. Tapas is great for catering towards different tastes and appetites, and if one goes wrong there’s no pressure – you still have others!
And, of course, these dishes are balanced, take less than 30 mins and can be chilled until needed. Perfect.
I have this in inverted commas because this isn’t very authentic at all, but it ensures even cooking and reduces the amount of frying you need to do. Customize with chilli, chorizo or different vegetables.
1 large baking potato
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Handful of roasted or sundried tomatoes
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Manchego cheese (optional)
1. Thinly slice the potato into rounds and boil in slightly salted water for about 10 minutes until tender. Drain well.
2. Heat 1-2 tbsps olive oil in a frying pan with the garlic. Add the potatoes and fry until the edges are slightly coloured, but avoid stirring too much. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and paprika to taste.
3. Simmer for another 10 mins and top with the cheese to serve immediately, or transfer to a pyrex dish. Reheat in the microwave or the oven at 180c (this takes a while, though), adding the cheese at the last minute.
Smoked Paprika Chicken Skewers (makes 2)
1 chicken breast
Juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp plain yoghurt
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1. Soak wooden skewers in water to prevent them from burning. Dice the chicken into relatively small chunks of even size. Place them in a bowl with the lemon, yoghurt and paprika. Mix well, cover and chill until needed. If cooking immediately, marinade for at least 30 mins beforehand if you can.
2. For cooking, preheat the grill or griddle. Slide the chicken onto the skewers and cook for around 15 minutes, turning occassionally until cooked through. Serve with garlic mayo.
If you like tender, spicy chicken, check out Piri Piri – you could even add some Portguese punch to your tapas.
2 flat mushrooms, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Small glass of white wine
1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
1. Heat olive oil in a frying pan with the garlic. Gently fry for a few minutes, then add the mushrooms. Cook down until soft.
2. Add the white wine and thyme. Simmer until the liquid has reduced down (add 1 tsp cornflour paste if you’re in a hurry). Serve immediately or chill until needed.
Have you ever tried making tapas at home? If not, try out some really simple stuff to get you started, like these mini omelettes, which can contain any number of fillings. They’re great for tapas as well as breakfast.
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