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Tapas Party

On a whim, I decided to invite about 20 friends over for a birthday party, and to serve tapas, the reasoning being that it is good finger/small plate food and I could supplement what I make with some olives and sausage pieces and other prepared treats.

So far I plan to make three or four dishes:

-Garlic shrimp
-Ceviche
- Patatas Bravas (crisp spiced potatoes)

Does anyone have any other suggestions that might work for this format? I think I need a vegetable item but I don't know what to choose. Is ceviche hard to make, and am I going to poison all my friends if I try to make it? That might really spoil the night...

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  1. You should run out and buy (or get from your library) Penelope Casas' Tapas, the little dishes of Spain

    You won't poison your friends w/ ceviche. The citrus of the lemon/lime "cooks'" the fish. That's what it's all about.

    1 Reply
    1. re: NYchowcook

      Oh yeah, I realize that's how it is cooked, I just worry I'll mess it up somehow. THanks for the book suggestion!

      1. pieces of manchego cheese wrapped in roasted red pepper - so easy and so delicious!

        1. Serve some good, crusty bread to sop up the sauce from the shrimp and to eat with your sausages and add some texture. Since it's winter, I think serving a bit of, thick and hearty cocido or callos poured atop bread would be just garlicky, tomatoey goodness. Manchego with quince paste is a good idea, as I think you could also use a little richness in the menu, but also consider bacon-wrapped dates for some sweetness. I think vegetable tapas are a little hard to eat, but you could try tossing spinach with olive oil, garlic, golden raisins, almonds and a splash of sherry vinegar. Or roasted green beans with hazelnuts, lemon rind and garlic.

          2 Replies
          1. re: JungMann

            Do you think I could make the spinach dish you mention a bit ahead and reheat it when the guests come?

            1. re: Keramel

              It might be better to do your mis-en-place and then make the spinach when your guests come. It only takes about 3 minutes to get them slightly wilted. If you cook spinach ahead of time, you lose any texture when re-heating. That said, when it's just us at home, we have no problem cooking our spinach and re-heating it in the microwave.

          2. Thanks! These ideas sound delicious and, most importantly, easy to do for a crowd!

            1. That sausage should be chorizo, no? And fried, to be authentic!

              Also- here is a windbagged post on a massive tapas party I did

              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/35218...

              1. what about a garlic soup with an egg poached in it?

                3 Replies
                  1. re: chef chicklet

                    ooooo yum. do you make the custard with sauteed garlic and then remove it?

                    1. re: julietg

                      Hi sorry just found you again, no it was made with roasted garlic. I am searching for my recipe. I got it out of a magazine a few years ago, and always made my changes. Its really a treat. Rich though. I'll find it, if you're interested?

                1. sliced chorizo soaked in red wine
                  a fava bean puree with a bit of garlic, lemon and mint mixed in
                  calamari rings sauteed with garlic and chile flakes
                  tapenade
                  braised small mushrooms

                  lots of good crusty bread

                  mini baked empanadas stuffed with spinach and herbs

                  any good cheese served along with a rich preserve such as quince or fig.

                  the only thing with the ceviche is make sure the fish is 100% fresh!

                  1. Tiny red potatoes stuffed with butter, anchovies and onions.
                    Marinated olives

                    1. manchego and serano ham crustini....delicious

                      12 slices French bread, sliced on the diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices
                      Olive oil
                      12 thinly sliced pieces Serrano ham
                      12 thinly sliced pieces Manchego cheese
                      Whole grain mustard

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: brycol1

                        rub the bread with a cut raw garlic clove, then rub it with a cut tomato. top with manchego and you have pan con tomate.

                        1. re: julietg

                          Does pan con tomate have manchego on it? Not that it doesn't sound delicious - when I've had it, it's just the grilled bread/garlic/tomato.

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            It probably doesn't include the cheese. Truth be told, I had some manchego, some bread, and a cut tomato I wanted to use. So I put it together and served it to the spancofilic DH who proclaimed, "ah, pan con tomate."

                            Must have been because of the pretty pink color of the top of the bread. Come to think of it, the look of this dish, as well as its ease of creation, makes it a good party option. Buy two bagettes (sliced on the bias), one tomato, and a half head of garlic.

                            1. re: julietg

                              Thanks I will definitely try that. I am freaking out at the amount of people i have to feed now so simple = good in my book right now!

                              1. re: Keramel

                                Don't freak out! If you've decided on your menu, happy to help with make ahead ideas or any other suggestions. The pan de tomate (I posted a reply to julietg but it didn't post somehow) is especially good if you can grill the bread - I use a grill pan on the stove. I've not done this for 20, but have done it for a smaller group, making most of it ahead. Good luck!

                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  And don't forget a pinch of salt, esp with a fresh tomato in winter.

                      2. Not exactly Spanish, but I read in Food and Wine this month...slice dates in half, remove pit and fill with chorizo and fontina cheese. Put pieces back together and pop oven, serve warm. I thought they sounded easy and delicious!!

                        1. Make a few tortillas espagnole. Basically a fritatta with onions and potatoes. You can make these ahead of time and serve warm or at room temperature.

                          Here's a link to one recipe: http://www.pilotguides.com/tv_shows/p...

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Euonymous

                            Some easy tapas:

                            If you have access to trader joe's- a stick of goat cheese surrounded by TJ's sun-dried tomato pesto- baked in a cazuela and served with bread is pretty easy and good.

                            Also- drain a can of chick peas. Fry until brown in olive oil with garlic and salt. Add rosemary if you feel like it.

                            With your tortilla or patatas bravas- serve with some mayo mixed with spanish smoked paprika (pimenton de la vera).

                            Note- you can cheat with the tortilla-use thick potato chips instead of cooking up your own slices of fresh potatoes. just careful with the salt! Serve in skinny wedges on bread with the pimenton mayo.

                            Roasted asparagus with alioli on the side. (add minced garlic and a bit of lemon to mayo)

                            champinones al ajillo- same as the shrimp, only with halved or quartered shrooms.

                            Roasted red peppers- sliced into strips, with a little garlic, olive oil and vinegar added.

                            tuna pate- a can of tuna, a stick of butter- some capers, garlic, lemon, parsley, black pepper- whatever- puree together until smooth. Chill and serve with bread slices and more capers.

                            I never actually had ceviche in Spain. I bet they eat it, but it seems like more of a latin american thing.

                            I love goya tuna or anchovy stuffed olives and roasted almonds with fino sherry.

                            Spanish chorizo is not usually cooked. I think Palacios is the only brand available in the states now.

                            Pitted dates stuffed with a blanched almond- wrapped in bacon and broiled. Or skip the almond.

                            1. re: silver queen

                              there are literally a hundred brands of spanish chorizo in the states these days...especially in areas with caribbean populations.

                              1. re: TSQ75

                                I mean Spanish from Spain. Not just from spanish speaking countries. Spanish chorizo is very different from Mexican, for example. But you're right, in that it appears that there are more than just Palacios available now.

                                No favorite brand of chips. Although the kettle-cooked style stays crispier and doesn't soak up the egg as much. That's even less authentic-like, but still interesting.

                                1. re: silver queen

                                  i knew what you meant. And I know the difference. you can get any number of Spanish made, and Spanish Style chorizo in the US, especially in NYC and Miami areas where there are caribbean populations. the caribbean nations such as Cuba DR and PR rely heavily on Spanish influenced cooking and ingredients, and only use Spanish chorizo.

                                  Being Cuban, i grew up on Spanish Chorizo. I'm not one of those people that refers to all spanish speaking people as "spanish"

                              2. re: silver queen

                                Potato chips, huh. Do you have a favorite brand that works for this?

                            2. Ok, I think I have settled on a menu:

                              -Baguettes served with marinated olives, manchego cheese, quince jelly (if I can find it)
                              -Roasted asparagus with and without serano ham (again, if I can find it) served with aoili for dipping
                              -Stuffed cherry tomatoes with black olive and caper filling
                              -Boiled New potatoes with aoili and mayo mixed with smokey spanish paprika for dipping
                              -Garlic Shrimp
                              -Garlic fried bread and Chorizo

                              I appreciate your help and if you have any other feedback on the menu let me know.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Keramel

                                Since asparagus is not in season, check to see how good the market's stock is before you commit. Also, don't tell the DH I said so, but you can use proscuitto if you can't find jamon serrano.

                              2. Like several others have suggested, a good one is Medjool dates wrapped in bacon, but instead of stuffing them with almond I have stuck inside a small cube of a dry cheese (like manchego or parmesan). Cook in the oven at 425 degrees until the bacon is cooked and the cheese inside melted... These are always a huge hit! A good mixture of sweet/salty.