Small Plates- Tapas
I was recently inspired to make tapas after reading a post on the very beautiful blog Laura’s Mess. She and friends/fellow bloggers get together and prepare a feast frequently and it’s like a culinary tour of the world. I decided since I love the food of Spain and I am particularly fond of small portions that I would make tapas. You can eat a variety of foods and variety is the spice of life!!
For this meal I made some of my favorite Spanish dishes, they are simple and very tasty and I find that when you set out platters of a variety of food for friends it’s fun, add some good wine to the mix and it’s a great party. You can also make some of the food in advance. The meatballs and tomato sauce and the polenta keep very well for a day or two, I also boiled the potatoes for the patatas bravas a day ahead and fried them the day of, you can also make that yummy sauce ahead.
I am not going to post recipes for all,most of the recipes are not mine, but I will provide the link to the recipe if you want to make. I served the polenta with the meatballs and tomato sauce, the grilled merguez goes beautifully with the patatas bravas. The shrimp, well they are great on their own and don’t forget the cheese and olives and bread with some good olive oil for dipping. Wash it all down with wine I chose Rioja. Sangria would also be lovely with this!!
Here is the menu:
Albondigas- Spanish meatballs (Recipe calls for pork, I used pork and beef)
Roasted Tomato Sauce (No recipe needed see below for instructions)
Gambas Al Ajillo- Spanish Garlic Shrimp
Cheesy Manchego Polenta
Assorted cheese. bread, olives
Lots of wine
The tomato sauce is very simple, pre heat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread cherry tomatoes and at least 3 cloves garlic on sheet pan, I used assorted heirloom, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and sprinkle generously with thyme. Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes or until the tomatoes and garlic are softened and caramelized. Crush with fork or masher and add the meatballs, simmer on low heat for approximately 45 minutes to one hour. Serve with polenta.
Polenta ( You can easily half the recipe if doing tapas)
Serves 4-6 depending on serving size
4 cups whey or water
1 cup polenta (corn meal) I used stone ground
pinch of salt
1 cup grated manchego cheese
2 tbs butter
2 tbs heavy cream, creme fraiche or mascarpone
black pepper (2 or 3 turns of the pepper mill)
In saucepan add the whey or water and pinch of salt, bring to a rolling boil. Whisk in the polenta, don’t dump it all in add slowly while you are whisking it thickens very quickly. Lower heat to low and continue whisking until its done. It takes approximately 3-5 minutes for regular cornmeal and 7-10 minutes for stoneground. Remove from heat add the butter, cheese and heavy cream. Stir until its all incorporated. Cover pan and set aside.
I baked the meatballs at 375 degree’s for 30 minutes then finished on stove top simmering in fresh tomato sauce.