Spanish Tapas

I probably say this every month to my group, but this month's Spanish Tapas really was my favorite country! Tapas in Spain are essentially a fancy version of bar food. People don't eat supper until around 10pm, so after work around 5pm people will go to the bar for a drink and it always comes with small bites of food. Eating the small bites means you won't get drunk on the wine you are drinking, as well as it will keep you going until you eat your late-night supper.

Our evening was 2 hour ordeal, as we nibbled slowly on small bites of food while sipping wine and chatting. We served 2 tapas at a time, and tried to pair together flavors that would go well. We did well. We did better than well...these were some of the most interesting and delicious flavors I have had! Steve and I walked away from the evening having learned a lesson: Try it, you might like it.

First up to the plate were my Serrano Ham wrapped Prawns. The shrimp were marinated in orange juice and smoked paprika and then wrapped in this salty ham that is very similar to prosciutto. I must say...they were good!

Lisa had fresh tomatoes from her garden so she made these olive stuffed tomatoes - one with an olive tapenade and one with a green olive and anchovy. This was one of those things I looked at and assumed I wouldn't like. Of course I was going to try everything, but I'm not super crazy about raw tomatoes and I've never liked olives. Put it together with anchovies, and under normal circumstances I wouldn't even try it. But lesson learned: I tried it....and I liked it. The sweetness of the tomato went well with the saltiness of the olive and anchovy.

Lindsey's husband Joel stepped up and made one of our dishes this month! He made Huevos Rellenos which are essentially devilled eggs. But they were mighty good devilled eggs.

In Spain they have a sauce called Romesco that is like a pesto, made with roasted peppers, tomatoes and almonds. They serve it on just about everything and it's a condiment used just as frequently as ketchup in North America. I whipped up a Spanish Romesco sauce and served it over grilled asparagus.
The nuttiness of the asparagus paired well with the nuttiness of the sauce.

About 6 months ago my Dad gave me a Smoked Trout that I've kept in my freezer, waiting for a rainy day to bring it out...or a recipe that told me what to do with it. In my Spanish Tapas research I came across this Smoked Trout Spread with horseradish, fresh dill, lemon and cream cheese served on crostini. WOW! This was SOOO good. This whole dish was gobbled up instantly. (I plan on making more today so we can have it on bagels in the morning :)

Lindsey made these cute little Bravas Mash and Chorizo bites. Bravas sauce is a spicy tomato sauce used in Spain for fried Patatas (like french fries), and she mixed it with mashed potatoes and topped it off with delicious smokey Chorizo. This is a new and delicious spin on meat n' potatoes!

These were probably the sketchiest dish of the night for me. As I eyed up the skewers of anchovy, green olive and pepper, I thought "There is no possible way I will like this". We all were nervous as we popped these into our mouths and HOLY CRAP THEY WERE INTENSE! Incredibly intense with flavor, but the flavor was actually....good. Wha??? You mean I liked these?! Yes I did. And so did everyone else. My husband was so scared of these initially but I think he ended up eating four of them. Yes FOUR! The intensity comes from the saltiness of both the olive and anchovy and they spice and tang of the pepperoncini. If someone had said I was going to try these and like them, I would have told them they were nuts.

Here's another dish I was "unsure of". This was Dan's Steak Crostini, which in itself I thought sounded delicious. It was the Blue Cheese Sauce he made and drizzled over top that I was sketchy about. I have never had a blue cheese that I liked. And you know paired perfectly with the richness of the steak. Again. Lesson learned.

Lindsey made these Shrimp Croquette's which were filled with shrimp and bechamel sauce and covered in delicious fried batter. Mmmm.

And last but not least, Dan made Calamari. I've never had homemade calamari before, so this was a nice treat. And so yummy.

So my lesson was not only that I should try it because I might like it, but if there are certain foods that I don't like, with the right combination of flavors it can be downright delicious.

Your lesson should be: Spanish Tapas are delicious. You should have a tapas party...and make sure there is plenty of wine.


Christine said...

THis looks like some good eats! :)

Kindra said...

It was so good I almost had to roll myself home :)

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