Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Nov 7, 2004 04:55 PM

Throwing a tapas party without being tied to the stove??

  • c

I love the idea of throwing an authentic tapas party, but whenever I start to research recipes, I get stumped. There is so much that requires last minute cooking or frying, I don't know how I'd do it without spending the entire time at the stove.

How do I do this and still enjoy my own party?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Make a tortilla espanola in advance.

    Get lots of Spanish olives, cheeses, and some quince paste.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JD

      Penelope Casas has a wonderful cookbook called "Tapas", which has many recipes for tapas which can be served cold or at room temp. I've yet to find a recipe in the book that hasn't turned out perfectly!

      1. re: kitnimbus

        It is definitely "doable" - it's one of my favorite entertaining themes. I'm also a big fan of Penelope Casas - the book I have is "Delicioso".

        1. As suggested, make the tortilla ahead of time - even the day before. It always takes more time to make than I think it will. I usually finish it off under the broiler as I'm not too good at flipping it. I usually slice the onions and leave them in - some recipes call for removing the onions before adding the potato. Save the oil that you drain off for avocado canape below. Serve w/ mayonnaise.

        2. I make meatballs (albondigas) ahead of time - making them in an "appetizer size" and have them on the stove top to warm up at the last minute.

        3. I make a grilled squid salad ahead of time.

        4. As suggested - manchego w/ membrillo. One of my favorite cheeses is Cabra de Cana - a lemony tasting goat cheese.

        5. Also, serve Jamon Serrano. You could also serve chorizo - I've seen recipes for sauteeing chorizo in sherry ....

        6. I prepare cazuelas w/ olive oil, garlic & a bit of dried hot pepper & then make gambas al ajillo just as the guests arrive and serve it in the cazuelas. If you have prepped the shrimp - it just takes minutes for them to cook and then mix in some chopped fresh parsley.

        7. My favorite - an avocado anchovy canape. Toast slices of french bread ahead of time, brushing them first on both sides with the oil left over from the tortilla - it has a lovely oniony taste. Just before your guests arrive, spread mayonnaise (I love the whole foods canola mayo) on the toast, add thin slices of avocado and a piece of boquerone - fresh anchovies. I've found them at Whole Foods and Dean & Deluca - often called Marinated Italian Anchovies - they are a white gray. They are pricey, but a little goes a long way.

        I have a tiny kitchen and find that this is a good way to be able to spend time with my guests while providing them with a yummy meal.

        1. re: MMRuth

          Your detailed menu is inspiring me to host another tapas party soon!

    2. You should really consider catering (although I know that is not in the spirit of this board). By the time you shop and cook and prepare and then want to be ready to engage with your guests--I have really had good luck working with a caterer on joint preparation.

      1. I've linked the menu I'm planning to prepare this Saturday night at my tapas party -- I asked about this a few weeks ago on the general board. I actually designed my menu so the dishes could be prepared in advance and served room temperature -- you will note the absence of any last minute fried items on my list, although I'm sure you could even do those in advance and re-warm in the oven.


        1 Reply
        1. re: DanaB

          I love these almonds but they have become so expensive - $17 a pound at Ideal Cheese in NYC, something approaching that at Whole Foods. BUT - I found them yesterday for $8.99 a pound at Di Palo's in Little Italy. What a treat! Also v. impressed w/ the selection and service there. The mother of the owner refused to sell me the $4.99 tin of tomatos I'd accidently picked up - said they were over priced, and treated me as if I were the only person in the store - which was far from the case. The parmesan cheese was incredible - made my spaghetti carbonara last night.