Trying Out Tapas Recipes
When you're thinking about Spanish cuisine, tapas dishes immediately come to mind. At the most basic level, tapas merely means appetizer, but when you combine it with Spanish food's tendency towards strong flavors, diverse textures and lively colors, the result is something really special. At tapas restaurants, the dishes are fill of small bite-sized wonders that are meant to be enjoyed for their variety, and whether you are thinking of preparing a Spanish meal or you love the idea of eating small and delicious snacks throughout your day, there are a few things to keep in mind.
When you are looking up tapas recipes, you will quickly notice that there are a lot of ingredients listed. Spanish food has always placed a premium on starting with ingredients that are simple and whole. You will not see many mixes or pre-prepared ingredients on these lists. This can be a little startling for someone who is used to cooking from mixes, but in general, tapas preparation is also quite simple. The number of ingredients is usually fairly small, and the cook time required is usually short.
A great tapas recipe is one that will enhance a meal but still manages to stand alone as a delicious dish. Remember that any tapas you try your hand at should be flavorful but not overwhelming, and that the dish should create a savor and an excitement all its own. Consider the simple fried almonds recipe below.
Fried Herbed Almonds
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups blanched almonds, whole
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs, cook's choice
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
Pour olive oil into a skillet, and turn heat to medium high. Ideally, the heat should be evenly distributed throughout the pan before you add the almonds. For this purpose, a cast-iron skillet is ideal. While it will take a little longer to heat up, when it does, the heat is completely even.
When oil is hot, add the almonds. Use a spatula to agitate the almonds in the pan until the almonds are a light golden brown. This takes around 10 minutes.
Toss in herbs. The herbs used for this tapas recipe will vary from person to person. Thyme is a good choice, as are tarragon, parsley, dill and rosemary. You can also use whatever herbs you have hand as long as they are fresh.
Remove the pan from the heat. Add a pinch of sea salt and a pinch of pepper. Toss the almonds to cover them.
Spread the almonds on a baking sheet or on a large dish and allow them to cool completely.
Serve the almonds with the soft cheese of your choice. Brie is an excellent choice for this tapas dish as it is soft but flavorful, but if you are interested in something that is a little more authentic to Spain, consider manchego, which is a sheep's milk cheese from La Mancha.