World Spanish Tapas Day: Celebrating Spanish Gastronomy
World Spanish Tapas Day, celebrated on June 15, is a special occasion to honor and enjoy one of the most delicious and popular icons of Spanish gastronomy: tapas. These small bites have transcended borders and have become a culinary reference both in traditional and innovative cuisine.
The Perfect Combination of Flavors and Textures
The tapas are a perfect combination of flavors and textures, from the classics such as the potato tortilla skewer, croquettes or patatas bravas, to more risky and creative creations that explore new ingredients and preparation techniques, such as garlic prawns.
Celebrating the Cultural, Social, and Culinary Value of Tapas
World Spanish Tapas Day, promoted by the Saborea España Association, is an opportunity to highlight the cultural, social, and culinary value of tapas. These miniature delicacies are perfect to enjoy in the company, pairing with a beer, wine, or vermouth, while sharing a pleasant moment with family and friends. In addition, tapas aspire to become an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which demonstrates its importance in Spanish culture and its international recognition.
The Definition of Tapas
Tapas are a culinary tradition deeply rooted in Spanish gastronomy. They are small appetizers that are served in bars and restaurants along with drinks. Tapas are usually small portions of a variety of foods, such as sausages, cheeses, seafood, vegetables, and tortillas. Their main objective is to accompany and enhance the flavor of the drink, as well as whet the appetite before a main meal. Tapas are very popular in Spain and are consumed in informal gatherings, socializing with friends and family around the table.
The Origin of Spanish Tapas
The origin of Spanish tapas is shrouded in legends and popular traditions. One of the most widespread theories is that tapas arose in the Middle Ages when a small portion of food was served over the drink in Castilian inns to prevent dust and insects from falling into it. This small “lid” had a practical function and also served to control alcohol consumption. Over time, tapas became a deeply rooted custom in Spanish culture, spreading throughout the country and acquiring a wide variety of flavors and presentations.
The Culinary Creativity and Gastronomic Wealth of Spain
Today, tapas are considered an expression of culinary creativity and the gastronomic wealth of Spain. There are plenty of tapas, from the classics such as potato omelettes and olives, to the most innovative and sophisticated ones created by renowned chefs. Tapas have become a way to enjoy food in small portions, exploring different flavors and textures with each bite. They are a reflection of the Spanish tapas culture and a unique experience that combines food, drink, and sociability around the table.
3 Spanish Tapas Recipes to Try at Home
Asparagus and Serrano Ham Puff Pastry
- 1 sheet of puff pastry
- 500 g of fine asparagus
- 2 slices of Serrano ham
- 2 slices of Edam cheese or similar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds
- Salt and black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
- Cut the puff pastry sheet into squares approximately three inches long and place them on a sheet of non-stick paper, which is placed on a plate suitable for the oven.
- Put the asparagus under cold water and cut off the hardest bottom part. Try to make all the asparagus the same size.
- Cut the slices of Serrano ham and cheese into pieces that are slightly smaller than the puff pastry.
- Place a slice of ham on each puff pastry and place two or three asparagus and a slice of cheese on top.
- Fold two corners of the puff pastry inwards so that each puff pastry can be closed, forming a little packet.
- Beat the egg and, with a kitchen brush, cover the puff pastry with the beaten egg. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.
- Bake the puff pastries in the preheated oven for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
Salad of Salty French Toast with Ham and Tomato
- 4 slices of sliced bread
- 4 slices of Serrano ham
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1 clove of garlic
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Salt and black pepper
- Leaves of lettuce or arugula to decorate (optional)
- In a pan with a little olive oil, brown the slices of bread on both sides until crisp and lightly golden. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Cut the tomatoes into thin slices and set aside.
- Peel and finely chop the garlic clove.
- In the same pan used to toast the bread, add a little more olive oil and sauté the minced garlic until soft golden brown.
- Add the Serrano ham slices to the pan and cook for a few minutes until slightly crisp. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a small bowl, prepare a vinaigrette by mixing 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, salt, and black pepper to taste. Stir well to combine the ingredients.
- Place the toasted slices of bread on a presentation plate.
- Cover each slice of bread with a slice of serrano ham.
- Place the tomato slices on the ham.
- Drizzle the salad with the prepared vinaigrette, making sure to evenly distribute the dressing.
- Optionally, garnish the salad with lettuce leaves or arugula for a touch of freshness.
- Serve the salty French toast salad with ham and tomato as an appetizer or as a tapa.
Croquettes are small portions of creamy dough and smooth, generally made with béchamel and mixed with different ingredients, such as ham, chicken, cod, or spinach. They are battered and deep-fried until they are crunchy on the outside and succulent on the inside. They are popular throughout Spain and are considered a true delight to share on any occasion.
- 200 g Serrano ham or cooked chicken (chopped into very small pieces)
- 50 g butter
- 50 g flour
- 500 ml milk
- Salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste
- Oil for frying
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
- Add the flour and stir constantly for a few minutes to form a homogeneous mass.
- Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly, until a thick béchamel is obtained. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.
- Add the Serrano ham or minced chicken to the béchamel sauce and mix well.
- Cook over low heat for a few minutes until the mixture detaches from the edges of the pan.
- Pour the mixture onto a plate or tray and let cool to room temperature. Then, refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until the mixture is firm.
- Shape the croquettes with your hands or with the help of two spoons.
- Dip each croquette in breadcrumbs, making sure to cover them completely.
- Heat plenty of oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat.
- Fry the croquettes until golden brown and crisp on the outside.
- Remove the croquettes from the oil and drain on absorbent paper.
- Serve hot as a tapa or side dish.
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