After a few weeks of cold, grey and rainy days summer weather is finally here. The warm weather makes me fantasize about our next holiday destination. Where will it be this year, where will we stay and most importantly what will we eat. In fact every time my husband and I plan a trip the first thing we research is the food.
This year our holiday plans are still up in the air. But a place that made it on our destinations list is Spain. We’d love to see the whole country, stay in a small hotel and really experience the magic of Spain and its people. You can’t beat the fact that the weather is marvelous and the food, oh the food. Though I haven’t been to Spain yet, Spanish cuisine has always been a favorite.
The first time I ate Spanish food was in a quaint cafe owned by a Spanish couple back in the states. I didn’t know what to expect or if it would be anything like Mexican cuisine. Being that I was unfamiliar with the food I asked my then boyfriend, now husband to order for us. He ordered tapas and he couldn’t have made a better choice. We had several vegetables, cheeses, sausages, meats and seafoods. All washed down with a pitcher of sangria. It was a meal I’ll never forget.
All the discussion and triggered memories of Spain and Spanish cuisine left me with a craving for tapas. They are small finger food or appetizers which you can serve at parties or for a Spanish fiesta (party). Tapas are also great for a light meal on a hot summer day.
Being in central Europe I don’t have access to many authentic Spanish ingredients. So the tapas you see here are adapted a bit to local ingredients. Regardless it was a very enjoyable meal.
Melon con Jamon
cantaloupe or melon of choice
Jamon Serrano or any cured ham of your choice
sliced baguette or crusty bread, optional
In the photos you’ll see that the melon and ham served two ways. Either wrap the jam around the melon slices or for smaller bites place small slices on top of baguette brushed with olive oil.
Pan Con Tomate or Toasted Bread with Tomato
grilled baguette or crusty bread
garlic cloves, peeled
Toast the bread in the oven or on a grill. Rub the raw garlic all around the toasted bread, then brush or drizzle with olive oil. Grate the tomato halves onto a bowl or plate, discard the skins. Spread grated tomato over toasted bread.
Gildas or Anchovy, Olive and Peppers
Anchovies, I used a small can in olive oil
pitted green olives
roasted sweet red peppers, sliced
sliced baguette or crusty bread, optional
olive oil, optional
Thread the anchovies, olives and peppers through toothpicks. I found that serving the ingredients on small pieces of bread, rubbed with olive oil, helped make a nicer presentation. Additional they stood up and were easier to grab.
Gambas al Ajillo or Shrimp in Garlic Sauce
for two people:
200 gm peeled shrimp * (I only had precooked shrimp)
3 tbp olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
finely chopped half of red Habanero pepper or milder pepper of your choice
1 large lemon, juiced
splash of white wine, optional
finely chopped parsley, handful
salt to taste
sliced baguette or crusty bread to soak up sauce
1. Heat the olive oil, saute the Habanero or pepper of choice for 1 minute. Next add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, add the shrimp, pour the lemon juice into the pan and cook until shrimp is cooked through. If you’ve used precooked shrimp like I have cook for 5 minutes before taking off the heat. Serve with baguette or crusty bread.
Non-Alcoholic Fruit Sangria
1 nectarine, sliced
1 medium orange, sliced
2 small slices of melon, cubed
about 1 cup roughly chopped pinepple, adjust to taste
3 cups sparkling water or seltzer water
1.5 cup apple juice (use 100% kind)
Place fruit and a few ice cubes in pitcher. Pour the juice then sparkling water and give it a stir. Serve over ice. The sangria was naturally sweetened by the fruit and juice, if you would like it sweeter feel free to add sugar.
Our mini Spanish feast was so delicious and light, which is exactly the meal I wanted on this hot day. My husband loved everything, specially the super spicy shrimp. It was worth the chile finger burn.
I can’t wait to go to Spain and stuff my belly with every type of tapas that cross my path. Buen provecho!