Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Well, sorta. Prairie tapas, best I can do anyway.

Tapas is a wonderful Spanish culinary tradition. It's an informal meal, usually evening, built around an array of finger-foods combined in various fashions. I was told that tapas as a tradition originated when small "covers" of finger-foods, such as slices of jamón serrano (a delicious dried ham) or bits of toast, would be used to cover glasses of port and protect them from flies and other pests drawn to the sweet, fragrant wine.

One of my favorite restaurants in Ireland was a Spanish place that served tapas, as well as a great paella among other goodies, and port out of the barrel that had never seen glass before José set the glass before you.

Living where I do now I have to "make do." No jamón serrano available, nor pickled octopus. So I improvise, because I like the spontaneous creativity and informality of a tapas supper even when I am alone.

The one I have pictured above is a quick-and-dirty that is nevertheless very satisfying. This one consisted of a main element of a scrumptious venison sausage (made with honey), lightly grilled in an iron skillet, and served with two kinds of crackers, and two varieties of cheese (extra sharp cheddar and a fine jalopeño jack), plus green onion shoots and a snappy wasabi paste. A glass or two of red (merlot in this instance) completes the menu.

Tapas is the most civilized of meals. You build your bites according to your taste of the moment and none of the preparation need interfere with conversation and camaraderie (not really a problem for me, with my dogs the only companions usually available).

Variations are endless. Canned smoked oysters. Grilled smoked mackerel. Thin sliced cappacola, prosciutto, or pastrami. Grilled, spiced chicken breast medallions. Canned crabmeat. Even thin-sliced crispy-grilled Spam! The sky's the limit where tapas is concerned, even when it's exported to the High Plains of the U. S.


Miguel said...

Just don't hate me:

The worst part, I had to think really hard not to buy this one:

Damned be by Spanish Ancestors!

BobG said...

One of my favorite types of meals. I always keep stuff like crackers, pickles, cheeses, etc around for small informal meals like that.

Anonymous said...

that looks nummy