Tapas 'R' Us

Gambas Al Ajillo

‘Tapas’ are the famous snacks of Spain and before we went into venturing this unique kind of snacks, we did a bit of prodding to understand the origins of this fare.
We were told that Tapas are snacks, canapés or finger foods. These come in many different forms and can even vary from town to town. A tapa could be made of fish, chicken, vegetables, beef, ham and any other item; It could be anything from a chunk of fish, cocktailed onion or even an olive skewered on a long toothpick to meat with sauce served piping hot in a miniature clay dish. They are served day in and day out in every bar and café in Spain. So much a part of the culture and social scene that the Spanish people invented the verb ‘tapear’ which means to go and eat tapas!
Tapas are served in small helping, therefore if you really need to sample all kinds of available snacks by sharing among a few, it isn’t much difficult; it can easily be classified into fish, vegetables and the specialized croquetas.
In the fish category the Suquet de Sepia is a simple Cuttle fish soup. This dish is exclusively for fish lovers because the strong ‘fishy’ aroma may not be appreciated by all. Gambas al Ajillo was a light and simple dish of sautéed shrimps with garlic, chilli and mixed herbs. Usually this dish can be served with any kind of bread.

Patatas Bravas

Esqueixada de Bacalla is served as fillets of Cod fish cooked with tomato, onion and olives in the Catalonian style whereas the Calamares a la Romana were rings of squid, fried till golden brown and served with chili sauce.
Moving on to vegetables category, one should sample the Patatas Bravas. As the name suggests, the dish is a simple item of diced potatoes, deep fried in olive oil and served in spicy tomato gravy. The most common tapa was perhaps the Tortilla Espanola or the commonly known Spanish Omlette, which was basically an Omlette made with sliced potatoes and onions whereas the Escalivada con Anchoas is an exclusive dish of char grilled aubergine (eggplants) and Spanish pimentos, served with extra virgin olive oil. The presence of the extra virgin oil took away the strong aroma of olive and highlighted the mixed taste of the eggplants and pimentos.

Tortilla Espanola

Before you end your Tapa samplings, don’t forget to sample the croquetas which are actually sort of fritters that once again, like the concept of a tapa, can be made with anything.