Although we are back to having rain again now, the sun made a brief appearance yesterday, so my wife and I decided to pop outside for a couple of hours and enjoy the weather with a drink. It must be time for Spanish tapas! There is simply no better accompaniment for for a beer and a glass of wine.
Whether you like to sit on your balcony, outside on the patio, in a courtyard, or perhaps in the lounge in front of the TV, tapas go so well with a drink (alcoholic or not) so I´ve included a couple of simple ones here. We will be taking a more in-depth look at the world of tapas in future posts, but for now just consider this as my introduction to these small bites of deliciousness!
First off, we have Spicy Almonds. I´ve tried these before with pimentón picante (cayenne), but decided to give the pimentón dulce (paprika) version a go this time. If, however, you like things spicy hot (or just want to ensure your guests don´t eat too many) then maybe cayenne is the one for you. You could also mix them, or change the amounts to suit your taste.
Tapa 1) Spicy Almonds
On the almond front, if you are unable (like me) to find blanched almonds then you can instead use almonds in their skins and blanch them yourself. Here is a quick method for blanching almonds.
- Boil some water in a saucepan.
- Once fully boiling, pop the almonds in and boil for one minute. Don´t boil them for longer, or the almonds will lose their crunchiness.
- Drain the almonds. To remove the skins, hold an almond between your thumb and forefinger and squeeze gently. The almond should be ejected from its skin. With a little luck and patience, you can “shoot” the almond from one hand into the other. The first time I did this, I accidentally fired a few almonds across the kitchen and into the lounge!
- Pat the almonds dry.
- 200 gm (1 pack) blanched almonds
- 25 gm butter
- 50 ml olive oil (extra virgin, if possible)
- 25 gm salt (good quality, preferably sea salt)
- a generous pinch of pimentón dulce (paprika)
- Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan until the butter has just melted.
- Give it a good stir and add the almonds to the pan in a single layer and ensure they have a good coating of butter-oil.
- Fry for 10-15 minutes, or until the almonds are golden brown, stirring and turning regularly.
- Mix the salt and pimentón thoroughly in a bowl.
- Remove the almonds with a slotted spoon and dry a little in kitchen towel.
- Add the almonds to the bowl and toss until they are coated in salt and pimentón.
- Allow to cool and serve.
Ready for some more Spanish tapas?
Tapa 2) Banderillas
Our second tapa today is banderillas (small skewers). They can be made with any combination of pickles, olives, fish, meat or cheese. This is one example that uses anchovies.
- tin of anchovies in oil
- bottled roast peppers
- pitted black olives
- silverskin onions
Place the ingredients onto the skewers. The anchovies will need to be pulled apart into narrow strips and rolled up before placing onto the toothpicks.
So, all that is left to say now is “Salud!”.
If you enjoyed these Spanish tapas, I recommend you take a look at another Spanish-based post, home-made Gazpacho.