Although the name Tapas sounds similar to the ladies 8 Mile industry here in Detroit, it actually refers to the small dishes served in cafes in Spain. These dishes have made their way to America and are quickly becoming a favorite among restaurant goers. The idea dates back to the outdoor cafes in Spain that were occasionally pummeled by whipping winds and dust. To protect their filled wine glasses from flying foreign objects, a plate was placed on top of the wine glass, a tapa, which leads to the concept of a small appetizer on that plate.
These small portions are full of flavor, aromatic and range from seafood to pork to beef to fowl to veggies. They can be grilled, steamed, baked, sautéed or broiled. They are covered in sauce, marinated in herbs and/or seasoned to perfection. A nice evening with another couple at one of these establishments will provide each of you your own Tapas plate with 4 items on each. Take one and pass it around. Everyone gets 4 separate appetizers and then you split a carafe of Sangria. Repeat as needed and order another carafe of Sangria.
Try one of these favorites:
Barbecued Mini Ribs
Costillas, as they are referred to in Spain, are wonderfully succulent barbecued ribs.
- 1 sheet of pork ribs, about 1 1/2 lb
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
- Salt and pepper
Separate the ribs using a meat cleaver or heavy knife. Then cut each rib in half width-ways to make about 30 pieces.
Mix the orange juice, tomato paste, soy sauce, Tabasco, and sugar in a bowl.
(Reserve a bit in a smaller bowl for dipping)
Put flour in a strong plastic bag and season with salt and pepper and then add the ribs and toss to coat.
Dip each rib in the sauce and place directly on a hot grill to char each side.
Place on top rack and cook for an additional 30 minutes flipping so not to char just one side.
Serve with a small bowl of reserved sauce, 4 to a plate.
Prawn and Bacon Brochettes
How can you go wrong with the combination of prawns and bacon? This is an ideal appetizer for your guests when having that famous backyard summer party.
- 8 strips of thinly sliced bacon
- 2 dozen medium to large uncooked, headless prawns, peeled
- 2 Jalapeno peppers sliced thin into circles
- Freshly chopped parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 lemons sliced in quarters
Slice bacon in thirds to make 24 strips.
Place a Jalapeno slice on prawn and wrap bacon around both.
Place the wrapped prawns on a board and skewer through the fattest part of the tail making sure bacon is firmly fixed.
Season generously and drizzle with the oil.
Grill the prawn and bacon brochettes for 2-3 minutes on each side, so the bacon crisps up and prawn goes pink.
Squeeze over the juice of the lemon wedges and serve immediately.
Cheese and Spicy Sausage Crustless Quiche
These wedges are delicious hot or cold. The chorizo can be grilled and the rest cooked in a skillet on the grill. Cut it into wedges and serve with a fresh salsa.
- Olive oil
- 6 oz Chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 lb waxy potatoes, thinly sliced
- 2 Spanish onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, plus extra to garnish
- 1 cup grated cheddar or favorite cheese (Additional for topping)
- Salt and ground black pepper
Grill the sausage until golden brown and cooked through. Allow to rest and then slice thinly.
Add 2 tbsp oil to the skillet and fry the potatoes and onions for 2-3 minutes, turning frequently.
Cook over a gentle heat for about 30 minutes turning occasionally, until slightly golden.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, parsley, cheese, sausage and plenty of seasoning.
Gently stir in the potatoes and onions until coated, taking care not to break up the potato too much.
Wipe out the pan with kitchen paper and heat more olive oil.
Add the potato mixture and cook, over a very low heat, until the egg begins to set.
Use a metal spatula to prevent the quiche from sticking and allow the uncooked egg to run underneath.
Grate additional cheese on top, cover and allow to cook through.
Cut into wedges and serve with fresh salsa.
Jalapeno wrapped in Bacon
Yes, another bacon wrapped appetizer.
- 6 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved and deseeded
- 1 block cream cheese
- 2 tbls diced onion
- 2 tbls diced garlic
- 6 Slices bacon cut in half to make 12 pieces
- 12 toothpicks
Sauté onion and garlic till tender and translucent.
Add onions and garlic to room temperature cream cheese and mix well.
Fill the jalapeno halves with cream cheese mix.
Wrap jalapeno with bacon slice and secure with a toothpick.
Cook on the BBQ flat plate on a medium-high heat until the bacon crisps.
Serve immediately with cool Ranch Dressing for dipping.
Not much else to add to these recipes other than an ice cold beverage of choice. A pitcher of Sangria filled with fresh sliced fruit is always a great chaser for these type of snack / finger foods. Have a seat, watch the sunset and enjoy some Tapas and Sangria. Summer is just around the corner so celebrate with good food and friends.
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em and don’t forget your bib.