In Spain, friends and family gather in tapas bars to enjoy lively conversation over a medley of small plates. Here, we capture that convivial spirit with a diverse menu of Spanish small plates, which are equally at home served with sangria and other drinks at a cocktail party, or served as an entire meal.
Marinated Olives with Orange and Chile
Spain produces countless varieties of olives, from the popular manzanillo to the big, meat goral to Arbequina, a variety used to make olive oil. For this reason, in Spain, the fruit is a popular way to start off a meal. Select your favorite olive variety for this recipe, which calls for simmering olives in their oil with citrus and chiles.
Blistered Padrón Peppers
Put out a heap of addictive grilled padrón peppers, dusted with sea salt—they’re impossible to not eat. Although these peppers tend to be sweet and mild, occasionally, you’ll discover one that’s noticeably spicy, which only adds to the fun of eating them.
Tosta de Boquerones
Tosta de boquerones—anchovy toast—may not sound terribly exciting, but one bite of this tapa and you’ll be a lifetime convert. Each component of this simple snack, from the boquerones (marinated, filleted white anchovies) to the creamy, garlicky aioli to the crunchy quick-pickled onions, has been thoughtfully created, and the whole of the bite is greater than the sum of its parts.
Albóndigas (meatballs) are excellent served as an appetizer, as part of a tapas spread, or as a main course when bread is provided alongside (for sopping up all that great sauce, of course. To make them finger food-friendly, provide cocktail picks and plenty of napkins alongside.
The Spanish love deep-fried snacks, especially croquetas, crispy bites made with mashed potatoes and filled with meat, then breaded and fried. To ensure this chicken croquetas recipe, which features minced chicken, is perfectly crisp, be sure to maintain the frying oil temperature and avoid crowding the pan.
Gambas al Ajillo
One of the country’s most popular plates is gambas al ajillo, or garlic shrimp. Don’t be nervous about serving the shrimp with heads and tails still on; they both add lots of flavor.
Arguably the most iconic of the Spanish tapas, tortilla española, which resembles an Italian frittata, is endlessly adaptable and easy to prepare ahead, as it’s typically served at room temperature.
Paella with Chorizo and Seafood
If you want to take the party past the level of casual tapas and into full-blown dinner territory, serve a traditional paella that’s packed with seafood and chorizo. This version, which is chock-full of three kinds of seafood—shrimp, clams and mussels—plus spicy chorizo sausage, will satisfy the hungriest of crowds.
Through August 19, enter for a chance to win a trip to Spain, where you’ll eat at Michelin-starred restaurants, tour wineries, enjoy cooking lessons and more.