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Spanish Appetizer suggestions

MARISKANY Mar 25, 2009 11:50 AM

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.

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  1. MMRuth RE: MARISKANY Mar 25, 2009 12:02 PM

    You might find a lot of ideas here:


    1 Reply
    1. re: MMRuth
      Rubee RE: MMRuth Mar 26, 2009 01:05 PM

      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. folprivate RE: MARISKANY Mar 25, 2009 01:32 PM

      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. farmersdaughter RE: MARISKANY Mar 25, 2009 02:14 PM

        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
          MMRuth RE: farmersdaughter Mar 25, 2009 02:28 PM

          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
            farmersdaughter RE: MMRuth Mar 25, 2009 02:34 PM

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

            1. re: MMRuth
              yamalam RE: MMRuth Mar 25, 2009 04:28 PM

              Please share when you do!

          2. h
            Harters RE: MARISKANY Mar 25, 2009 03:43 PM

            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
              paulj RE: Harters Mar 25, 2009 05:18 PM

              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
                Harters RE: Harters Mar 26, 2009 09:04 AM

                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. s
                Stuffed Monkey RE: MARISKANY Mar 25, 2009 06:33 PM

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

                1. BigSal RE: MARISKANY Mar 26, 2009 02:47 AM

                  You could also try Pan con tomate (pan amb tomaquet in catalan)-toasted bread, rubbed with garlic and tomato and drizzled with olive oil and salt. It's great just like this or you may add cheese and/or ham. A nice escabeche of atun would help balance out some of the richer dishes. Lastly, croquetas (of egg or ham and cheese or potatoes or cod...so many choices). You can do all the prep work in advance and fry at the last minute. Buen Provecho!

                  1. mcel215 RE: MARISKANY Mar 26, 2009 03:37 AM

                    Bobby Flay did a machengo cheese appetizer that looked really good and easy.

                    He seasoned and marinated a small 2 inch thick round of manchego in olive oil, then grilled it. He served bread it warm with bread and spanish olives.

                    1. LindaWhit RE: MARISKANY Mar 26, 2009 07:19 AM

                      One of my favorite tapas at a Boston-area Spanish restaurant is a fried goat cheese with caramelized onion and honey drizzled over top....I found this recipe:


                      Another is their Baked Goat Cheese (notice the theme? LOL) with Tomato & Basil. I cannot find a recipe, but it seems to simply be a decent-sized round of goat cheese laid in a small cazuela that has some roasted tomato sauce, and baked until the goat cheese melts, and the topped with slivers of basil. Serve it with a hearty bread to sop it all up.

                      1. c
                        catherineny RE: MARISKANY Mar 26, 2009 12:11 PM

                        I agree, tortilla de patatas is fantastic. Any pinchos (pintxos in Basque) would be perfect. You could make pinchos with, on top of a bit of bread, stuffed peppers, tomatoes, cheese, caramelized onions. You could also get bacalao, which is salted cod, and it's served with tomatoes and bread. I also adore chorizo, which you can cook slowly in wine or even apple cider. Empanadas are great too, they are like the Indian samosas. Scallops are always fabulous if you marinate them in white wine or brandy and olive oil. And don't forget the manchego cheese!

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