Chronicling all of the small plates that I cook from the definitive guide to all things Spanish and small: The Book of Tapas.


Tapas tonight: bacon-wrapped figs, avocado and shrimp salad, and chicken kebabs with spices and honey.

From the main blog. 

Chicken wings with parsley and garlic, page 356. Buffalo-style chicken wings? You’ve met your match.

We made the pinchos morunos from The Book of Tapas as prescribed by Sam & Sam Clark (a way famous husband and wife team) and they were good, but not as good as what we enjoyed in Spain in September. So more research is required to get us there.

Saturday night tapas, uno: bocartada marinera (anchovy with chile and garlic).

Page 251.

Ham and Egg Tapas.

We were supposed to use quail eggs but Whole Foods was out of stock on them.

M thought this vegetable tortilla would “be like a Western omelette without the ham” based on the recipe.

In actuality, it was an eggy delight of caramelized veggies and sweetness. It’s so much fucking better than a goddman Western omelette.

In sum: Spanish tortilla > French omelette.

It’s a fine day for tapas—and we’re making quite a few today!

Spanish Tortilla (Tortilla de Patatas a la Española), page 168.

Wooo, boy. The last time we tried making a tortilla, well, the results were so pathetic that I couldn’t even bear to photograph more than the lumpy mound obscured by a big bowl of gazpacho. I would wager that the pan that M made it in was partially to blame because it was much wider than the 10-11 inches that The Book of Tapas recommends, and so it required more eggs than initially called for to bind the potatoes together…making it into a misshapen mess.

This was a much more aesthetically pleasing affair, though I’ve been told that an onion-less tortilla is a sad tortilla, and this recipe in TBOT did not call for them. Then again, we just needed to master the damn flip—now that we have, it’s time to venture into the more adventurous tortillas in the book.

As ugly as it was, it still was delicious, so at least we had that.

Vitamin C - CAN

As heard on the Broken Embraces/Los abrazos rotos soundtrack

(42 plays)

Mussel, Bacon and Mushroom Tapas, page 275

Mussels, bacon and mushrooms—say what? You steam the mussels for a few minutes until they open and then skewer them with bits of bacon, anchored by a simple cremini mushroom. And it works. We had high-quality bacon from Niman Ranch that was packed with flavor, and the bacon and the mussels together just…was bliss. All it requires is the skewers need to be baked for about 10 minutes to let the bacon cook (and somehow the mussels didn’t taste tough). Utter bliss. Odd as anything, but utter bliss.

Fried Date and Bacon Pinchos (Pinchos de Dátiles y Bacon Fritos), page 343.

Given how elaborate tapas have become, especially in American iterations of the concept, it’s positively refreshing to see a book on the subject show the idea of making impromptu dishes by wrapping things in bacon. Dates work especially well, because their sweetness nicely coincides with the savory of the bacon. The fact that it doesn’t take long to make only solidifies it as the perfect bar food.

Migas, page 348.

Fried bread. Chorizo. Bacon (though the recipe called for pork belly; Fairway happened to be out of it). What’s not to like? This is not a light tapa at all, but it represents the best of why this cuisine works: rich little bites that pair well with that Spanish red or sherry and help you keep your cool while you wander around all night from cafe to cafe, seeing where the night will take you.

Queso de Valdeón

This is a blue cheese for those of us (like me) who are convinced that we don’t actually liked blue cheese. It’s rich and savory and overwhelming…and you’re left with an aftertaste that isn’t overly herbal or intense.

Sobrrasada Tapa (Tapa de sobrasada), page 361.

This was by far the easiest of the the three tapas I made for brunch on Saturday, as what could be easier than letting some sobrasada sit to make it more pliable and then mixing it with chunks of butter to melt on toast? The toasted almonds lend a nice crunchy texture, and overall this was my favorite of the three to eat.

You could also make this with regular chorizo, but I don’t know that it would be quite as tasty only because it would be not as easy to meld the chorizo and butter together.