There is always something rewarding when you’re able to reproduce a certain culinary style and tradition in your very own kitchen. Doing so can save you money by not purchasing plane tickets and there won’t be any language barriers. Although, sometimes corn fields look better than this 😉 Not.
Another thing to consider is that not all family members would be able to vacation at the same time. So, in order to go on a culinary vacation one can create such experiences in their own kitchen.
That’s exactly what I recently experienced. Some members of my family love to travel over seas and experience new culinary adventures and one that they recently experienced was authentic tapas. Coming back from Spain they were eager to share what they had experienced and they wanted to try to recreate a similar setting in their own home.
Before I get into what we had and share some of the recipes let’s dig into the background of what tapas are.
What are tapas?
The word “tapas” is derived from the Spanish verb tapar, “to cover”.
According to The Joy of Cooking, the original tapas were the slices of bread or meat used to cover their glasses between sips.
Tapas are served day in and day out in every bar and café in Spain. Tapas can really be anything from an olive that is skewered on a long toothpick, to piping hot meat with sauce.
Spanish Tapas Recipes
Now that you have a background, let’s cook some tapas recipes. Here are several of the recipes that I was able sample from the home kitchen.
Spanish Potato Tortilla Recipe
You may think that this is simply a frittata – it’s close. The Spanish potato tortilla is the closest relative to a frittata. The Mexican flour or corn tortilla are what you could call distant cousins. In this recipe, rather than a tortilla, the potatoes are the star. A fluffy egg surrounds the potatoes and provides a great option for breakfast, lunch, dinner – tapas.
Get the recipe here: Spanish Potato Tortilla
Shrimp and Chorizo Tapas Recipe
Shrimp, paprika, lemon juice, sherry are just a few of the spices and flavors that you experience while eating this dish. Filled with shrimp, chorizo and veggies it’s definitely a tapa party when this is served.
Get the recipe here: Shrimp and Chorizo Tapas
Country Bread Topped with Garden Vegetables
- 8 1/2-inch-thick slices country bread, cut crosswise in half
- 1 garlic clove
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 medium tomatoes, diced
- 6 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 small zucchini, diced
- 12 radishes, thinly sliced
- 3 celery stalks, minced
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
- Prepare BBQ grill or preheat broiler.
- Grill or broil bread until lightly toasted.
- Rub bread with garlic and brush with oil.
- Mix tomatoes and next 8 ingredients in bowl.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Spoon mixture over bread.
- Sprinkle with almonds.
- Garnish with black olives
Des Moines Tapas
If you don’t want to host a party at your house or feel like being creative in the kitchen, you can always leave it up to a couple of restaurants in Des Moines to fill your tapas needs. Visit these 3 restaurants for tapas!
The Stuffed Olive
The stuffed Olive is located downtown Des Moines at 208 3rd St. They’re all about the ultimate martini and tapas experiment. They easily have over 50 different martini options. Take a look at their selection. They also have a nice selection of tapas featuring plates like bruschetta, stuffed olive sliders, and one of my favorites – spinach and artichoke dip. In fact, the Dish On Des Moines names The Stuffed Olive as one of the 13 best happy hours in Des Moines.
I’ve experienced some of the larger plates from Trostel’s Greenbriar and it was amazing. The small plates are just as good. A great wine list is complemented with dishes that are exquisite and flavorful. They have pommes frites with asiago cheese and white truffle oil. Braised pork belly is also on the menu with roasted cabbage, bacon and a celery root puree.
The first time I went to the Continental was definitely a memorable one. Live jazz music, a stiff drink and good friends – oh and nice tapas too. Blue cheese crostini is a must at the Continental. It features Maytag blue cheese, honey and roasted walnuts. on toasted South Union focaccia.
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