Spanish Tapas

October 30, 2015

“A Spanish tapa bar is one of mankind’s inspired inventions . . .”
— James Michner, Miracle in Seville

Tapas bar in Seville

Tapas bar in Seville

With their late lunches (2:30 – 4:30) and very late dinners (9:30 – 11:30), how do the Spanish not faint from hunger during the day?  The answer is tapas.

“[A] tapa, a word derived from the verb tapar, which mean ‘to cover.'”
— Talia Baiocchi, from Sherry: The Wine World’s Best-Kept Secret

” . . . tapas originated . . . in the nineteenth century, when bars and taverns used to keep saucers over glasses of sherry to both keep the flies our and preserve the wine’s aroma. . . . on top of the saucer, barkeepers would generally offer a small slice of jamon, either alone or on top of a piece of bread, as a welcoming gesture.  This, as it’s told, eventually evolved into a collection of small dishes meant to be consumed in bars, with wine.”
— Talia Baiocchi, from Sherry: The Wine World’s Best-Kept Secret

Carol and I loved sharing two or three tapas and calling it a meal.  We were novices at making selections.  Even when the menus included English descriptions, the arrival of the small plates to our table was invariably a surprise.

Chicken with potatoes

Chicken with potatoes

Once, for example, we ordered chunks of chicken on a skewer for one dish, beef with mushrooms for our second, and a tapa of potatoes brava.  We did not know that each of the meat dishes would come with its own side of potatoes, so our meal was very heavy on the starch!  The potatoes were so delicious, though, braised and crusty on the outside, warm and soft on the inside.  Hard to resist.  Total cost, including two small beers: 10 euros.

After that, we tried to include at least one vegetable dish for a more balanced meal, which was a good strategy!

We ate at this Seville tapa bar twice.  We loved the artichokes tapas.

We ate at this Seville tapas bar twice. We loved the artichokes tapas.

Another time we ordered a tapa of shrimp fried in batter.  We were expecting something like a dish of popcorn shrimp.  Instead, what came to our table were four large shrimp fritters, thin pancakes fried to crispy perfection.  Delicious.

We stopped here for tapas, a quick pick-me-up

We stopped here for tapas, a quick pick-me-up

IMG_5115

Our tapa from Quimet & Quimet

Our tapa from Quimet & Quimet

“Nobody drank without eating — it would have been thought uncivilized . . .”
— Laurie Lee, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning

Of course, you could not eat tapas without drinking, so if you stopped in a tapas bar for a late morning pick-me-up, you might actually find yourself drinking a small beer before noon.  (It’s been known to happen.)

Alejandro, one of the chefs on our Al Andalus train

Alejandro, one of the chefs on our Al Andalus train

We had the chance to see a tapas-making demonstration during our Andalusian train tour.  Alejandro, one of the Al Andalus chefs, made three batches of tapas, which we got to sample:  a cold tomato soup called salmorejo; a melon, tomato and cheese salad; and a pate of black olives on toast rounds.  Yum!

 

 

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Spanish Tapas”

  1. shoreacres Says:

    So appetizing! Is that caviar I see up there? I still remember how amazed I was the first time I tried caviar, and liked it. It was atop an egg salad sort of thing at a Swedish smorgasbord, and it was yummy.

    Tapas can make a meal – and the variety is wonderful.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Yes, it is caviar. I think that was my first taste of it ever. And I liked it, too. Sounds like the perfect topping for Swedish eggs.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: