Tapas originate in Spain and are small appetizers, served either hot or cold. Many years ago The Hubby and I visited Spain and enjoyed tapas nightly. The small painted dishes and “tumblers” came home with us from that trip – I should really use them more often than I do!
Our party consisted of 10 guests…well, 5 adults and 5 kids. I wanted to make sure we had a good variety of bites that everyone would love. You don’t need a lot of one type of dish; a small amount of many different snacks works well. It does probably sound like more work, but it really isn’t – it’s what makes it fun! Skewers are popular at a tapas party. Put anything you think would taste good on a skewer together and it probably will. Look for cocktail forks or short skewers so that they are small bites. One dish I prepped ahead of time was the Grilled Citrus and Garlic Chicken Skewers. I purchased a bottle of citrus and garlic marinade, cut 6 boneless chicken breasts into smaller pieces then skewered. Next I layered them in a baking dish and added the entire bottle of marinade and let sit for a couple of hours. Once we were ready to serve, they were quick on the grill and devoured – this was popular with the kiddos! If you decide to use a seasoning instead of a marinade, be sure to soak your skewers in water before grilling.
I also purchased a couple of different cheeses along with a package of sliced prosciutto and sliced chorizo. Pairing the chorizo and a cube of Manchego cheese on a toothpick worked perfectly. I cut smaller pieces of the prosciutto and wrapped it around cubes of Merlot Bellavitano Cheese by Sartoni – easy and delish. Hitting the “olive bin” in the deli area is an easy way to fill small bowls. Added to this platter were roasted red peppers and marinated garlic cloves.
The garlic cloves also made their way onto this platter of skewered melon and prosciutto along with pitted Kalamata olives, and smoked almonds.
Another skewer I served was a piece of avocado, a Kalamata olive, an artichoke heart, and a piece of basil. These were gone in a flash.
We also had a bowl of store bought hummus on a platter with a sliced baguette, baby carrots, and sliced radishes. Easy.
In addition to the Grilled Citrus and Garlic Chicken Skewers, we served Bacon Wrapped Petite Scallops with a Spicy Mayonnaise. This is when your guests can help you in the kitchen!
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat your broiler. Thaw a 16 ounce bag of petite scallops and cut bacon into pieces small enough to wrap around each scallop and secure each with a toothpick. Place bacon wrapped scallops in one layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook them under the broiler for about 10-15 minutes until the bacon is cooked through, turning once. Another piece of this you can make in advance is the Spicy Mayonnaise – this was actually quite good with the chicken, scallops, and the shrimp! You can find Tyler Florence’s recipe for the Spicy Mayonnaise here.
The shrimp I prepared is a household favorite – and super easy. I used a 12 ounce bag of 31-40 raw shrimp. (P.S. 31-40 defines the size of the shrimp, meaning there are 31-40 shrimp of that size in a pound). After thawing and removing the shell, I added about 4 tablespoons of butter to a pan, melted it, and then threw in the shrimp. Once I flipped them, the garlic was added – like a lot, probably 6-8 cloves, minced. The juice of ½ lemon, freshly ground pepper, and a splash of dry white wine will finish these off nicely. Just make sure they are cooked through and pink.
I hope that this inspires you to throw your own Tapas Party!