Summer party food: Tantalizing tapas recipes
Serve tantalizing tapas at your next get-together
Originally, tapas were pieces of bread, slices of cheese or other apt-shaped snacks that were placed over beverages (like "lids" or "covers") by bartenders. Patrons came to expect the "little bite" of food with their drink, and the popularity of tapas was born. In Spain, tapas is the name used for a wide variety of finger foods. They may be served cold or warm and run the gamut from marinated olives and button mushrooms to fruit, cheese and nut plates. Tapas, once prepared, become low maintenance party food and give you the freedom to mingle with your grazing guests. In addition to being easy to serve, the delectable variety of small bites are quite an impressive spread when entertaining at home. Offer tapas on plates and platters and in bowls artfully arranged on a counter or buffet table along with a luscious array of wines, then simply relax and enjoy while your guests take care of themselves.
Tasty tapas recipes
To make your party prepping easy, cook two or three intensive recipes and round out your selections by setting out bowls and plates of the following finger foods:
- Marinated olives
- Salted and candied nuts
- Cooked shrimp and cocktail sauce
- Sliced cooked sausages with cubes of different cheeses
- Slivers of smoked salmon and softened cream cheese on mini-toasts
- Fresh red or green grapes
- Sliced baguettes or party toasts
- Pureed roasted red bell peppers
- Rolled up slices of Serrano ham
- Fresh fruit
Fresh Fig and Blue Cheese on Sourdough Toasts
Makes 24 appetizers
- 1/2 cup agave nectar or honey
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 12 fresh mission figs, trimmed, halved
- 4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 24 slices (2-inch square) sourdough bread, toasted
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine agave nectar or honey and water. Bring to a boil and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in vinegar and add figs. Remove from heat and set aside for 1 to 2 hours.
- In a bowl, beat together blue cheese and cream cheese until smooth. Spread cheese mixture on toasts and top with half a fig.
Sweet Spanish Oven Fries
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch thick sticks
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix potatoes and remaining ingredients, tossing to coat.
- Divide fries between two large baking sheets, spreading into a single layer, and bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until fork tender and well-browned. Serve on a large platter with flavored ketchup and salsas.
Makes 24 appetizers
- 1/2 cup bulgur 1 cup boiling water
- Juice and finely grated zest of an orange
- 1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro plus whole leaves for garnish
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- Salt and black pepper to taste 12 plums, halved, pitted
- Place bulgur in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover bowl and let stand 30 minutes or until bulgur is tender and water is absorbed. Pour into a fine sieve to drain, if necessary.
- Stir in orange juice and zest, green onion, cilantro, coriander, and salt and pepper. Using a serrated spoon or tiny melon baler, scoop out a portion of plum flesh to create a bowl (do not scrape all the flesh out). Reserve pieces of plum for a vinaigrette, to add to muffins, or for another use.
- Place plums on a platter and carefully fill with bulgur mixture. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve. Depending on the size of the plums, you may have extra left over. Fill more plums with it or save it for a salad the next day.