Spanish tapas have become very trendy nowadays, and they can be served as special hors d'oeuvres when you have guests. The original reason for having tapas in Spain was to have something to eat as a snack or appetizer before dinner along with the after-hours glass of wine or beer. Tapear, or eating tapas, can actually replace lunch or be eaten as a light dinner.
According to history, Spanish farmers used to eat small snacks with a glass of wine between meals as a way to re-energizing during the day. The word tapas comes from the practice of covering glasses of wine with slices of bread or ham in Spanish taverns, in order to prevent fruit flies or dust from falling inside the glasses while patrons ate. In the past, tapas consisted mostly of olives, sausage and slices of cheese, but these days they are made out of seafood, meat, fried food or vegetables, depending on the region of Spain you may be in.
Here is one of my favorite tapas recipes: Shrimp in Garlic Sauce. It's easy to make and super delicious. I suggest you serve it with crusty bread, so you can dip it in the sauce. And, of course...make sure to pour a glass of your favorite white wine. ¡Salud!
Gambas al ajillo
Prep time: 15 minutes
-1 pound tail-on shrimp, about 21-23 pieces, medium to large size
-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
-6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon of pimento or Spanish paprika (I like the smoked variety)
-A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
-1/2 large lime, juiced
-2 tablespoon whiskey or sherry wine
-1 small bunch of fresh chopped parsley (approximately 1/4 cup)
-Pepper, to taste
-Crusty bread, like baguette o ciabatta
1. Wash the shrimp and season it with salt, Spanish paprika, pepper and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
3. Add sliced garlic and fry lightly until brown, for approximately 2 minutes. Remove garlic from saucepan with a spoon.
4. Add shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes on one side, until done.
5. Place garlic back in the saucepan with the shrimp, and add whiskey or sherry wine, lime juice and chopped parsley. Cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and serve in a clay pot or in your favorite plate. Garnish with additional chopped parsley, and serve with crusty bread.
Do you have a favorite tapas recipe? Share it here.