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by on October 3rd, 2010

Tapas, Tapas, Everywhere!

We had wonderful, delicious, unusual, yummy tapas everywhere in Spain.

Tapas are small plates of food served along with drinks. I have read that originally in Spain, tapas were served as a cover for a glass of wine so flies and other objects did not get into the glass. That may be a myth, but it makes perfect sense. In the beginning the tapas plate probably contained olives and cheese and peppers but tapas have evolved into something you could enjoy for breakfast, lunch or a whole dinner. In a tapas bar you just keep ordering small plates until you are full which is so much better than to order some huge dinner and then try to consume the whole thing since you paid for it and all of us, of a certain age, remember the “clean your plate” comments from our mothers because of all the starving kids in the world.

This was one of my first tapas to try after getting back. We tried so many different kinds of olives stuffed with all kinds of different things. These are just extra large pitted green olives that I stuffed with strips of Serrano ham. And, I absolutely love my mini paella pans I found. I have 5″ and 3″ pans.

Here are a few tapas pictures from our recent trip to Spain. I love small plates of food because I feel like I’m not eating that much and we can just keep ordering, one at a time until we have had enough. One night before we knew it we had consumed 6 small plates of tapas, 3 glasses of vino blanco and 3 bottles of cerveza and still our tab was only around 16 euros.

All the tapas bars we visited had beautiful, mouth watering legs of prosciutto or Serrano hams hanging from their ceilings. I was so trying to figure out how to get a leg of prosciutto in my suitcase for my kids but it would have been my luck that the hoof would have poked through the luggage while going through customs. I settled for bringing back three rounds of manchego cheese. We had some great tapas like tomato toast, very large green olives, split and stuffed with Serrano ham, plates of cheese, potatoes bravas, fried anchovies, tortilla (potato tart type thingy), stuffed little red peppers with a creamy fresh cheese. I plan on making quite a few of these this fall and will be blogging all the recipes. Hope you will check back later and try some of my new recipes.

I took around 2,600 pictures on our cruise and in Spain. I guess I kind of went crazy with the camera. Of course, all along I knew we would probably delete at least half of them. I love taking pictures of food so please excuse shadows and maybe some out of focused pictures. I’m still learning. I am really proud of some of the landscaping pictures I took at different sites and will post a link to some of those when we sort through everything.

We had one delicious tapas that was beef tenderloin chunks with a few slices of potato and it all was covered with a blue cheese sauce. Someone in our group ordered this dish that was bread covered with crushed tomatoes, Serrano ham and cheese with 6 little quail eggs on top. Hope you enjoy looking at some of the pictures of tapas. I have also recreated a tapas we had in Sevilla which was Pork in Whiskey sauce with a few potatoes added and bread for dipping up all the delicious sauce on the plate.

This was one of our favorite tapas bars, El Xampanyet right next to the Picasso Museum and is considered one of the best bars in the world. It is so tiny you can hardly move around. We had some delicious food here before popping in to see some amazing Picasso art.

The owner of the above tapas bar had a collection of very interesting bottle openers. Only one person in this bar spoke English and we asked her to put together several plates of tapas for us to try.

Cuttlefish with some slow roasted tomatoes. Delicious! Never had cuttlefish before.

Delicious plate of sausage and salami also from El Xampanyet.

This was a very tasty tapas. Potatoes with beef tenderloin chunks with a Roquefort Sauce.

Cerveza and a glass of vino blanco. Took me three tries at different tapas bars to get across that I wanted white wine. I finally emailed my daughter and she told me to say bino with a “b” instead of “v”. That worked.

We had these pimiento de padron when we stopped at Vigo, Spain while on the cruise. They were deep fried. Just these little green peppers, no batter, not too much heat in the pepper and we could have eaten three plates of them they were so good. A bottle of wine, some beer, fries and we were ready to head back to the ship for a little siesta.

This is a bream (fish) roasted red peppers, mushrooms, and potato tapa. I think the sauce was a little olive oil with maybe smoked paprika (that’s how I intend on recreating this dish) and broth of some kind.

Ok, now this one might gross you out. Look closely at the little black spots. Those are tiny shrimp eyes. The shrimp in this fritter was about 1/4″ long. We kept seeing people standing at the bar (that’s what a lot of people do when they eat tapas there) holding these crispy patties and gobbling them down. We ordered them the next night (went to this tapas bar Santa Cruz in Sevilla twice) and they were kind of green on the inside. They were delicious. I might have shut my eyes from the beginning if I knew what was in them but didn’t and ended up really liking these. Now, I probably won’t be making these at home for sure.

Fried sardines, anchovies and calamari. We had this tapa several times while there. We had them fried and also kind of marinated and then grilled. My favorite, of course, were the fried ones.

We had duck pate twice on the trip. The above one was from the cruise one night and the other one we had in one of the tapas bars where all the locals go and it was a peppered duck pate, sliced with a currant jam on one side and either apricot or orange jam on the other side topped with an aspic and both pates served with plenty of bread.

This was our first tapas in Spain at a little bar around the corner from our hotel (Amadeus). Unusual cuts of chicken, small pieces with some type of very flavorful sauce, peas and lima beans.

Another tapas experience. Lots to choose from in all the tapas bars and we learned that there were different ways of ordering tapas depending on if you were standing at the bar or sitting at a table. We caught on fast though.

We loved our time on the cruise and in Spain and I came back with many ideas for things I want to cook. Hope you will enjoy some of the pictures I plan on posting from the trip and I will be posting the Pork in Whiskey Sauce tapas this week and also plan on recreating these almond meringues we had in Barcelona and the juicy candied orange quarters we had in Madrid.

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