Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Mar 25, 2009 11:50 AM

Spanish Appetizer suggestions

My cooking club is having a dinner on Saturday night. The theme is Spanish food and I am to make an appetizer. The main course will be paella and I've been searching for an appetizer that will not have any of the components of the paella. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: MMRuth

      Some more ideas from Penelope Casas' Spanish Cookbooks:

      June Cookbook of the Month: TAPAS by Penelope Casas -

      JUNE Cookbook of the Month: FOODS and WINES OF SPAIN, Penelope Casas

    2. Spanish tortilla de patatas - (Spanish omelet/fritata with fried potato as the base)

      marinated mushrooms, artichokes, olives, jamon iberico ham, manchego - I forget the term for the spanish equivalent of antipasti

      1. You could do gazpacho, or sizzling garlic shrimp if the paella will not be a seafood paella, or patatas bravas (yum!).

        3 Replies
        1. re: farmersdaughter

          I have served gazpacho in demitasse cups, which has worked well. And, the gambas al ajillo can be prepped ahead of time, and then cooked at the last minute. I think it's time for some Spanish food at my house as well! I want to get my mother-in-law's tortilla recipe - Julio Iglesias told her it was the best he'd ever had.

          1. re: MMRuth

            The demitasse cups is a nice idea. It's going into the summer appetizer file. Thanks.

          2. Spain is big on salads as starters. Combine a leaf & tomato salad with a slice of tortilla (served barely warm) and you've a winner. My Mallorcan brother-in-law always adds a little Tabasco to his basic oil & vinegar dressing when he's made tortilla. It works.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Harters

              One of those popular salads is ensalada rusa (Russian salad) - diced potatoes, cooked carrots, peas, green beans, etc in a mayo based dressing.

              For winter, orange based salads work well - oranges, red onion, garlic, olives. I like fennel with this, and for some reason, this seems be a bumper year for fennel.

              Chickpeas are also a good salad ingredient with a Spanish character.

              1. re: Harters

                Sticking with Mallorca, the classic starter salad is trempo. Skin some tomatoes and de-seed. Chop them into pieces about 1.5cm square. Chop green peppers into similar sizes. Finely slice onions. Mix and add an oil/vinegar dressing. Serve with bread, olives, capers (or, far better, caperberry).

                Or for a hot starter found all over the island, how about tombet? First make a thickish tomato sauce with skinned chopped toms, chopped garlic and salt & pepper (might need a pinch of sugar if the toms arent very ripe). Now gently fry thinly sliced or chopped potatoes until soft but not too coloured. Do the same with some courgettes, red peppers and aubergines - do each veg type separately (you want them perfectly cooked and not as a mishmash of flavours). You need to keep everything warmish while you finish off. Now, put the potatoes on the base of your serving dish then add, in order, the aubergine, courgette and pepper. And lastly top with the tomato sauce. Mallorcan tend to not eat things piping hot so this will be something on the hot side of warm (if you see what I mean). And, yes, I know it sounds like ratatouile - bit it isnt!

                Or, if you don't think it'll be too challenging, I also love frit de matances. Basically a fry-up of potato, onion, red pepper, garlic and pigs liver (and any bits of pig offal you think you could get away with - the brother-in-law's mother used to include lung - which was horrible). Peel & cut your potatoes - my best description is you want the size of British chips - much bigger than American fries, not as big as wedges (say about 0.5cm thick or a tad thicker). The onion and pepper want to be in fork-sized chunks, as does the liver (and other bits, some bacon or pancetta would be nice). No real recipe for preparation - it's another where you cook the items individually in olive oil, but then put everything back into the pan to mingle together for a few minutes. It's brill!

                You'll want bread on the table. Mallorcans wouldnt dream of eating anything without bread.

              2. Marcona olives, fried and salted, olives and manchego cheese. Mushrooms, (or shrimp in garlic). Tortilla de Patatas, or Patatas Bravas (definately yum),.