Planning a party is often half the fun, putting together ideas for guests, the venue, the dress code and the drinks. Where the nightmare sometimes starts is in the food though, and it can be a real hair-puller thinking how to feed your friends and family. With so many people expressing certain dietary requirements too, it can be tricky to decide what to feed whom.
Ordering pizza is a cop-out and buffets are passé, so what do you do? Take our tip and turn to tapas. You might think of them as the finger food of bars, fancy pubs and complicated Mediterranean foodie hangouts, but they’re the ultimate party food too.
The great part is, they’re easy to make, even if you know nothing about the intricacies of Spanish cuisine. Here are five easy to make yet impressive-looking and tasty tapas dishes to try at your next shindig.
Olives all the way
Olives are the Marmite of the tapas world, to say nothing of their contested pizza topping presence. For your party though, wheel out the olives en masse, because they’re tasty healthy morsels when prepared properly.
In keeping with our theme though, that doesn’t need to be a complex task. Our favourite recipe uses Greek Kalamata olives, some crushed garlic, zingy orange peels and some spicy pepper goodness, but the real secret is to marinate the olives in oil for a day in advance.
Succulent Serrano ham
Believe us when we say the Spanish take their ham super seriously. Serrano ham is a mainstay in tapas, and easily found in supermarkets. It’s also a great way to get some easy tapas sorted, as you can wrap it around chunks of cheese or crusty bread and skewer it with a stick. True foodies wrap their Serrano ham around sweet juicy plums instead though.
Fancier cheese on toast
Toast might be the ultimate comfort food, but leave it to tapas to take the crusty loaf into the realms of fancy finger food. Pan con Tomate is incredibly easy to make, requiring you to simply lightly toast up some thick crusty bread slices and smoosh some garlic and tomato juices over them. You can top with cheese to make for some extra flavour, but this is a superb light bite on its own.
Crave some crostini
We’re sticking with bread but changing up the toast to instead focus on crostini. Smaller crustier bread bits chargrilled and skewered can be paired with any number of things, from olives and fish to chicken chunks or hard-boiled egg slices. We’d advise sticking with tradition while bringing out the mash-ups though, with an apple and Manchego cheese crostini skewer. Grill the whole lot together and you’ve got a zingy, creamy and scrumptious treat.
Five minutes for fried almonds
If you’re really in a rush or not too confident in the kitchen, you can bring the best of Spain to your party with nothing more than some olive oil, a bag of almonds and some table salt. Fry up the nuts in the pan on a medium heat, take them out to dry lightly on a paper towel, sprinkle on the salt and place a few bowls of them around your party spread. Don’t be surprised if those bowls empty fast and you’re surrounded by cheerfully crunching faces.
Tapas needn’t be taxing, and nor does your next social gathering. Take our tapas tips in mind when planning your next party, and you’ll be the culinary sensation among your nearest and dearest, all with a few easy dishes knocked out in minutes. What’s your go-to tapas treat?