Bonito: Five Beautifully Simple Tapas Dishes To Wow Tus Amigos
Part of the beauty of tapas and Spanish cuisine is that at its very best, it’s incredibly simple. It’s perhaps the perfect cuisine. It can be eaten at any time of the day, there are often cold or hot options, and most importantly it looks utterly scrumptious.
It’s the ideal party dish and will almost certainly wow your friends if they walk into a home with a table full of beautiful food. But what are the simplest dishes to impress?
Spanish cuisine uses a range of ingredients from potatoes, to olives, to cheese, and of course chorizo, ham, and seafood which are Spanish staples.
Here are our favourite, stress-free dishes for you to make at home ahead of entertaining some about to be impressed guests.
One of Spain’s most famous dishes, and one of the simplest to make too. Featuring only chopped potatoes and a spicy tomato sauce, you’d be amazed by how delicious it is for such little effort.
The dish is popular in the bars of Barcelona and Madrid and is made by boiling chopped squares of potato in salted water before drying them and deep frying. When ready, a tomato-based sauce is then be poured over the top. Vinegar, red pepper, and spices are also added to give the potatoes a warm kick.
Meatballs are enjoyed all over the world and in Spain it’s no different. Albondigas is the dish of choice in the country and generally uses pork or beef mince, although lamb has also been featured in the dish.
Naturally, meatballs are relatively simple to make and for the sauce you just heat a frying pan with some Spanish olive oil over a medium heat and then fry finely chopped garlic and onion until transparent. Add a touch of salt, rosemary, thyme, sugar, and pepper to season and a glass of Spanish red wine and flambé.
Once the red wine has reduced by around half, add some chopped tomatoes and you’ve got a fantastic and authentic Spanish dish.
Serrano Ham Wrapped Plums
Ham is one of Spain’s favourite foods and when visiting Madrid or Barcelona you’ll find ham, or jamon, in shops in every neighbourhood. Jamon Iberico is gorgeous, whilst serrano ham comes a little cheaper but is just as tasty.
This delicacy stretches back to the Roman Empire, and to this day is still considered as one of the most special meats of the nation.
Serrano ham wrapped plums are a real treat, with the tartness of the plums contrasting perfectly with the smokiness of the meat, and is the ideal canapé food for a party. These of course have to be made when plums are in season, but even if they’re not, a range of hams alongside some crusty bread and cheeses like manchego and monte enebro will most certainly impress.
We’ve already mentioned the Spaniards love of ham and croquetas only adds to that reputation. They’re commonly found in bars alongside the likes of patatas bravas and are one of the homeliest dishes in tapas.
In the UK croquettes using mash potato, whereas in Spain they use béchamel, a sauce made from butter, flour, and milk. It’s a good idea to prepare the sauce a day early to allow it to set ahead of making the croquetas for your friends.
To make it you need the ingredients above and then some serrano ham along with a touch of salt.
The following day you can then shape your croquetas and roll them in breadcrumbs before dipping into beaten egg and coating in breadcrumbs once more. Leave for half an hour before deep-frying your croquetas and serving them to your hungry guests.
Gambas al Ajillo
Popular in Catalonia, where seafood is a staple part of the diet. Gambas al Ajillo is shrimp cooked in garlic and it’s one of the best tapas bar snacks you’ll find in Barcelona, not to mention at your dinner table.
And you’d be surprised to know it’s a relatively simple dish to make too, simply heat some olive oil over a medium heat and add garlic and red pepper flakes. Once they begin to brown, raise the heat and add the shrimp as well as a splash of lemon juice, paprika, and a smothering of sherry or cognac.
Once the shrimp begins to curl and turn pink its ready to serve, topping off a fantastic spread of traditional Spanish dishes.
Of course no night of Spanish food to wow your friends is complete without a glass of sangria to wash it all down with. The beverage is hugely popular in the country and is as easy as the food to make. Depending on how much you wish to make, and of course how heavy your evening may be, add three parts red wine, one-part orange juice, and two parts lemonade into a jug alongside ice, fresh mint, and sliced fruits like oranges and lemons to finish. And there you have it, the perfect Spanish evening to really treat your friends.