Tuesday, 5 July 2011


Origin and history of tapas
The tradition of serving small snacks with drinks is found all over Spain but originated in Andalucia, a Southern province of Spain.  These snacks are called 'tapas'. The word "tapas" is derived from the Spanish verb tapar, "to cover".
The association with appetizers is thought to have come from the old habit of placing a slice of bread or a piece of ham on top of one's wine glass, first to prevent insects or other impurities falling into the glass and secondly, for the guests to soak up the alcohol they had drunk with something solid,. This edible lid was the precursor of modern-day tapas.
Tapas are intended as appetizers, as a nibble before the meal but they can be "upgraded" to bigger portions, equivalent to half a dish (media ración) or a whole one (ración). This is generally more economical when a tapa is being ordered by more than one person

If you ever go to Spanish bar maybe some of the names will sound familiar to you from now on!!

List of Spanish Tapas

Albondigas - Meatballs
Alitas de pollo - Chicken wings
Almejas - Clams
Berenjenas horneadas - Roasted aubergines
Butifarra - Sausage from Catalunya
Calamares - Battered squid
Callos - Tripe
Caracoles - Snails
Chistorra - Spicy sausage
Chopitos - Small cuttlefish fried in batter
Chorizo al vino - Spicy sausage pan-fried in red wine
Cogollos fritos - Lettuce fried in garlic and oil
Costillas - Ribs
Croquetas - Croquettes, normally with ham, chicken or cod
Diablitos picantes - Mini hamburgers
Escombros - Fry up of bits of small squid.
Empanadillas - large or small turnovers filled with meats and vegetables
Ensaladilla rusa - russian salad

Ensaladilla rusa

Figatell - Speciality of Valencia meatballs of pork and liver similar to faggots
Gambas pil pil - Sizzling Prawns in Olive Oil and Garlic
Gambas rebozadas - Battered prawns Huevos de codorniz - Quail's eggs
Jamon serrano - Spanish ham
Judias blancas - Butterbeans and whole cloves of garlic in a white wine vinegar
Longaniza blanca - Normal sausage colour but not as spicy as longaniza roja
Longaniza roja - A speciality of Aragon, red spicy pork sausage
Magro - Pork in a paprika/tomato style sauce
Mejillones - Mussels
Mejillones rellenos (Tigres) - Stuffed Mussels.
Merluza a la Romana - Hake with a very thin batter
Morcilla - Black pudding
Muslitos de mar - A croquette of crab-like meat skewered on a crab claw
Orejas de Cerdo - Pig's ear
Patatas a lo pobre - Potatoes with onions and peppers
Patatas alioli - Potatoes in a garlic mayonnaise
Patatas bravas - Potatoes in a spicy sauce
Pincho moruno - A stick with spicy meat, made of pork, lamb or chicken.
Pimientos de Padrón - Small green peppers originally from Padrón
Pollo al ajillo - Chicken in garlic
Queso Manchego - Manchego cheese in varying degrees of maturity
Rabo de Toro - Bull's tail or oxtail
Sepia - Cuttlefish
Tortilla Espanola - Spanish potato omelette


Try to try as much as you can but remember they aren't small at all.


Here's a foolproof tapa that my family really enjoy.

Crispy chorizo and new potatoes
(chorizo con patatas nuevas)

Serves 4-6 as part of a selection of tapas

500g new potatoes, scrubbed
3 (about 300g) cooking chorizo sausages, chopped into 1 cm slices
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves chopped finely
2 tbs dry Madeira
Baby spinach for decoration

Boil the potatoes for 8-10 minutes, or until cooked but still firm. Remove from the heat and cool them under running cold water, then cut them in half lengthways on the diagonal and set aside.

Heat a large, non-stick frying pan to hot and cook the chorizo for 2-3 minutes, or until the oils are released. Add the potatoes and rosemary and cook, stirring frequently, over a high heat for a further 2-3 minutes, or until golden and crispy.

Reduce the heat and add the Madeira. Stir and leave to caramelise and brown for a further 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spinach and serve.

Crisry chorizo and potatoes with baby spinach