Tapas party

My husband is the captain of an Interclub tennis team and we usually host an end of season party for the team and spouses.  We have done this for a number of years and I’ve done varying things (last year I did the Chinese Chicken salad and sesame noodles, one year I did Fajitas, etc.)  This year they won the title for their league so I wanted it to be special.  In a moment of insanity, I decided to go with a tapas theme.  Tapas are fun because they are lots of little dishes.  Tapas is a lot of work because it is LOTS of little dishes.  I usually pride myself on planning things pretty well but I got a little carried away.  I’m not going to give you the full grocery list.  I am going to share the individual dishes with their ingredients and recipes in the event that you want to make some.  Trust me that if you want to make all of them you should plan on devoting an entire weekend to the effort.

Here is the menu with recipes following:

  • Marcona almonds, olives, bread and Spanish cheese (the easy part because you buy these)
  • scallops with Serrano ham
  • mushroom and shrimp tartlets
  • gazpacho (which gave me an excuse to get the cute single serving glasses I’ve been craving from Pier One)
  • zucchini fritters with chipotle mayonnaise
  • sauteed mushrooms
  • cherry tomatoes stuffed with black olives anc apers
  • patatas bravas
  • steak with garlic and sherry
  • Moroccan chicken kabobs
  • deviled eggs
  • oven baked vegetable tortilla

And a dessert platter with:

  • brownies
  • lemon iced gingersnap sandwiches
  • orange poundcake
  • iced sugar cookies (decorated to look like tennis balls)

Here are a couple of pictures:

Tapas party

Tapas party

Don't you love the centerpiece - trophy and tennis balls

Don’t you love the centerpiece – trophy and tennis balls

The dessert platter

The dessert platter

So I made:

Mushroom and shrimp tarts

Make the filling ahead adn fill the they will get soggy if you let them sit.

  • 1/4 lb chopped mushrooms
  • 1 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1/4 cup champagne
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 5 cooked jumbo shrimp, peeled and chopped
  • 2 oz. grated cheddar cheese
  • croustades crispy shells
Saute mushrooms and garlic in butter over low heat for 15 minutes.  Add wine and bring to a boil.  Cook until almost dry.  Add cream and shrimp and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.  Fill shells with mixture and top with grated cheese.  Cook in oven at 375 for 2 – 3 minutes or until cheese is melted and serve.
Scallops with Serrano ham
  • scallops (I bought 30)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB minced parsley
  • 1/3 lb Serrano ham sliced thin
Combine lemon, garlic, olive oil and parsley and marinate scallops for 20 minutes.  Drain and skewer each scallop on a small skewer (I used bamboo ones that I soaked in water first).  Then skewer a 1/2 slice of scrunched ham.  Broil for 4 – 5 minutes or until scallops are done.  If I had made 60 of them I don’t think there would have been any left.

Gazpacho

  • 4 Cups Tomato Juice (If you want spicier soup, use V8)
  • 1/2 cup finely minced yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 red pepper, minced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and minced
  • 2 scallions minced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 TB sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp tarragon
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients.  Puree some or all as desired.  Chill and serve.

Zucchini fritters
  • 2 zucchini grated with a coarse grater
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • olive oil
Combine zucchini with garlic, scallions, Parmesan, eggs, lemon zest and flour.  Heat a heavy saute pan over medium heat and add olive oil.  Plop zucchini mixture into hot oil by tablespoons and cook 2 -3 minutes per side until crisp.  Remove to a plate covered in paper towels and serve hot.    (I made them ahead and reheated for about 10 minutes in a hot oven.)

Patatas Bravas

  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 14 oz canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp white wine finegar
  • 1 tsp crushed, dried chile pepper
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 lb fingerling potatoes

Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add about 2 TB of olive oil.  Cook the onion until soft.  Add garlic and stir in.  Add wine and bring mixture to a boil.  Add tomatoes, vinegar, pepper and paprika and simmer uncovered for 10 – 15 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Remove sauce and transfer to a blender.  Blend until smooth and return to pan.  Keep warm.

Cut potatoes into chunks (unpeeled).  Heat oil in a large skillet and cook poatotes over medium high heat until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.  Put potatoes in a dish and spoon sauce over potatoes.  Use toothpicks to spear the potatoes.

These are spicy and delicious.  This would make a good vegetable dish with chicken.

Chicken Kabobs

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into cubes
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp oregano

Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup.  Pour over chicken and marinate 8 hours or overnight.  When ready to cook, drain and reserve marinade and thread chicken cubes on metal or wooden skewers (if using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes first).  Grill or broil kabobs, turning regularly and brushing with reserved marinade (10 – 15 minutes or until chicken is done).  Serve hot.

Deviled eggs
Everyone loves these so plan on each person eating at least two.
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
Place eggs in a pot just big enough to hold them and add water to cover.  Bring to a rapid boil, reduce heat to just simmering and cover for 17 minutes.  Remove from heat and add cold water and ice cubes to stop cooking.  Chill eggs in refrigerator.  Peel eggs and cut in half.  Put yolks in a bowl and mash with a fork.  Add Worcestershire sauce, mustard, paprika and mayonnaise.  Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.  Fill egg whites with filling and top with additional paprika.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Stuffed cherry tomatoes

  • 2 – 3 pints cherry tomatoes, pulp cut out
  • 10 – 12 pitted black olives
  • 2 TB capers
  • 1 package softened cream cheese

Combine olives and capers in a food processor (I used my little one) and mince.  Add cream cheese and combine.  Stuff tomatoes with filling and refrigerate until ready to serve.  These would also be good stuffed with crab salad or tuna salad.

Steak with garlic and sherry

  • 1 pound sirloin cubes
  • 4 – 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1/3 cup good sherry

Combine steak and garlic and toss well with your hands.  Refrigerate for at least one hour or up to overnight.  When ready to cook, heat a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add oil and then steak.  Cook until desired doneness, then add sherry and cook 2-  3 minutes.  Serve with bread.

Oven baked veggie tortilla

  • 4 scallions, minced
  • 2 peppers (I used one red and one orange), diced
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 potato, boiled, peeled and diced
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 6 oz shredded cheese (I used half Parmesan and half cheddar)

Preheat oven to 375.

Saute garlic, scallions and pepper in olive oil over medium heat until soft but not browned.  Cool and add potato.

Beat eggs and beat with sour cream.  Stir in cheese and vegetables.  Line a 7 x 10 baking dish with aluminum foil and brush with olive oil.  Fill with egg mixture and bake 30 – 40 minutes or until set.  Remove from container and peel off foil.  Cut into squares and serve at room temperature with toothpicks.

The Tapas feast report

The tapas feast was really fun.  We cooked a few things, sat down and ate them and then repeated the process.  We had 4 waves of food and liked each of the 10 things we made.  (We made the executive decision to skp the spinach and mushroom tortilla as we were getting too full.)  I would definitely recommend this as a way to spend an evening with good friends who like to cook and eat. 

Christie and I split the food shopping and cooking.  One of the keys to success was planning.  We made a chart of each item and the prep time and cooking time and coordinated our “food waves” based on how things were fixed.  We are fortunate to have a small oven/broiler in addition to our big oven and we definitely used it.  We also tried to coordinate our waves to have a mix of things in each one.  Here are all of the recipes we fixed.  We had leftovers of a number of things – this could easily serve 6 people.

First Wave

  • Patatas Bravas
  • Moroccan Chicken Kabobs
  • Mussels Vinaigrette

Patatas Bravas

  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 14 oz canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp white wine finegar
  • 1 tsp crushed, dried chile pepper
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 lb fingerling potatoes

Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add about 2 TB of olive oil.  Cook the onion until soft.  Add garlic and stir in.  Add wine and bring mixture to a boil.  Add tomatoes, vinegar, pepper and paprika and simmer uncovered for 10 – 15 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Remove sauce and transfer to a blender.  Blend until smooth and return to pan.  Keep warm.

Cut potatoes into chunks (unpeeled).  Heat oil in a large skillet and cook poatotes over medium high heat until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.  Put potatoes in a dish and spoon sauce over potatoes.  Use toothpicks to spear the potatoes.

These are spicy and delicious.  This would make a good vegetable dish with chicken.

I blogged the chicken kabobs and mussels vinaigrette yesterday.  Both were excellent.  We all agreed that the chicken marinade would be great for whole chicken breasts on the grill and that the result would be delicous with cous cous as a dinner.

Wave 2

  • Zucchini Fritters
  • Paprika Spareribs
  • Baked clams

Zucchini Fritters

  • 1 lb Zucchini
  • 3 TB flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 2 TB milk
  • Vegetable oil

Cut zucchini on diagonal into thin slices.  Combine flour and paprika in a bag and mix.  Beat egg and milk together in a bowl.

Toss zucchini in flour mixture until well coated.  Shake off any excess.  Heat oil in a large heavy skillet.  (Oil should be about 1/2 inch deep.  Dip floured zucchini into egg mixture and fry in batches until crisp (about 2 minutes).  Remove as cooked and drain on paper towels. 

Our recipe called for a pine nut dipping sauce.  We all agreed that a garlicky mayonnaise sauce would have been better.  The zucchini fritters were excellent.

Spareribs

  •  1 rack of spareribs
  • 1/3 cup sherry or wine
  • 5 tsp paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 TB oregano

Preheat oven to 425.  Lightly oil a large roasting pan.  Cut ribs into individual ribs and spread in a single layer in pan.  Roast for 20 minutes.

Combine sherry, paprika, garlic, oregano with 2/3 cup water in a measuring cup and whisk together.  Remove from oven and pour off fat.  Reduce oven temperature to 350.  Coat ribs with sauce and roast for another 45 minutes.  Serve hot.

These were delicious – very tender and a definite repeat.

Baked Clams

  • 1 dozen medium clams
  • 4 TB butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 TB minced onion
  • 2 TB minced parsley
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 3 tsps Panko

Shuck clams and drain.  Loosen meat and leave in shell.  Melt butter and saute garlic, onion, parsley, paprika and thyme, stirring for about 2 minutes.  Cover clams with mixture and top with panko.  Broil clams 2-3 minutes until browned and bubbly.

These were excellent – our only challenge was that we had littleneck clams and my husband found that shucking them wasn’t the easiest thing in the world.  He got them shucked without any injuries but we would definitely try to find bigger clams next time.

Wave 3

  • Garlic mushrooms
  • Fried eggplant and cheese

Garlic Mushrooms

  • 1 lb mushrooms
  • 5 TB olive oil
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • lemon juice
  • 4 TB chopped parsley

Clean mushrooms and remove stems.  Cut in half.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Add garlic and cook until lightly browned (about 1 minute).  Add mushrooms and saute over high heat about 3 minutes.  Reduce heat and allow mushrooms to yield juices.  Then increase heat and saute for 4 – 5 minutes until juice evaporates.  Add lemon juice and stir in parsley.  Serve hot and spear with toothpicks.

These were delicious.  Our recipe suggested serving with bread for the juices but we were getting too full to eat any bread.  These would be a good side dish with steak or chicken.

Fried eggplant with cheese

  • 1 eggplant sliced thinly into 8 slices (recommend using a mandoline)
  • 4 thin slices of Port Salud cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • flour
  • olive oil

Place a slice of cheese between 2 slices of eggplant.  Dip eggplant sandwich in egg and then flour.  Fry in olive oil over medium heat until golden brown.  Serve hot.

The key to this is definitely having the eggplant sliced thinly and having it crispy.

4th and Final Wave

  • Shrimp with Garlic
  • Rosemary Fish Skewers with Bacon

Shrimp with Garlic

  • 3/4 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6 TB olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 TB minced parsley

Heat oil in a small saucepan.  Add garlic and pepper and when garlic turns golden, add shrimp.  Cook stirring until shrimp are done.  Sprinkle with paprika, parsley and salt to taste.  Serve hot.

These were very good although I let the garlic get too brown.  Again, our recipe called for bread with the sauce but we were too full for bread.

Rosemary Rockfish Skewers with Bacon

  • 8 oz rockfish
  • 12 fresh rosemary stems
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 6 thick strips of bacon

Cut fish into bite size chunks.  Strip leaves off of rosemary stems (leaving a few leaves at one end).  Finely chop leaves and whisk with olive oil, lemon juice and garlic.  Marinate fish chunks in sauce for 1 – 2 hours, keeping refrigerated.

Cut bacon strips in half.  Cook in a microwave on paper towels for 2 minutes.  Roll bacon strips into rolls.

Thread fish cubes alternating with bacon onto rosemary skewers.  Broil for 8 – 10 minutes, turning frequently until cooked.  Serve hot.

These were delicious and a great ending to our feast.  We had a nice Spanish white wine and finished off the evening with leftover Christmas cookies.

Now we are all ready for the New Year’s Diet!  We are having dinner with my parents tonight and tomorrow I’ll be blogging a nice healthy menu plan for next week.  Happy New Year!