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Tapas: The Spanish Classics at LaBodega


 




In the midst of the coronavirus, home cooking is more important than ever. The irony is not lost on me that I’m writing a series about Spanish tapas, just as the numbers of infected in Spain explodes and restaurants there and all over the world are shutting their doors. Normalcy will return, and we will congregate and raise our glasses again…

Tapas is a daily event in the life of Spanish culture. Originating in the northern Basque region, it signifies a way of eating and socializing. It is said that tapas originated in the 1500s. In Spanish, the word tapa or the verb tapar means “to cover.” Tapas represents the Spanish custom of placing a piece of bread over the glass of wine. Traditionally, food served reflects the particular region, and is less important than the social occasion.
Last weekend, Lance and I made a quick trip to La Bodega Originale in Kansas City, Missouri to feast at 2pm on tapas. It was the beginning of their happy hour, prices were half of normal hours, and I hoped correctly that there would be fewer people in the restaurant at that time. 
La Bodega has been operating for more than 20 years, and serves classic Spanish tapas with an amazing bar program. According to their menu, tapas is a way of life, signifying leisure, camaraderie, and good humor. We had a wonderful time chatting with Kelly our server, and Megan the bar manager. Business is down 50% and will most likely go down in coming weeks. But today, we celebrated and supported one another in classic Spanish style!
In addition to the wonderful warm bread, Spanish olive oil and vinegar, and fantastic sangria, below is what Lance and I ordered. Next, enjoy a recipe for Patatas Brava I made for a tapas dinner party in Kansas City in January. Next week I’ll tell you more about that menu and share a few more recipes. Salud, to my absolutely favorite way to eat!

bread service with Spanish olive oil and sherry


TAPAS FRIAS - CHILLED TAPAS
TAPAS CALIENTES - HOT TAPAS

TAPAS FRIAS - CHILLED TAPAS:
PIMIENTOS RELLENOS DE POLLO roasted piquillo pepper stuffed with curried chicken salad, golden raisins and dried cranberries
PAN CON TOMATE house made tomato fresco with grilled baguette brushed with garlic and Maldon salt
ACEITUNAS ALINADAS assorted house marinated olives with spices and fresh herbs
TAPAS CALIENTES - HOT TAPAS:
PINCHO DE POLLO Y CHORIZO skewered chicken and chorizo with garlic cumin aioli
ALBÓNDIGAS CASERAS meatballs in a spicy garlic cream sauce and garlic crostinis
PATATAS BRAVAS crispy potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce
CHAMPIÑONES A LA PLANCHA roasted mushrooms with garlic and white wine parsley sauce
ELOTES charred sweet corn with garlic-cumin and pimentón aioli, Manchego cheese, and smoked paprika
Patatas bravas
Serves 6 as part of a tapas meal
Ingredients
Olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ cup white wine or dry Spanish sherry
1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
2 teaspoons white or red wine vinegar
1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons hot or sweet smoked Spanish paprika
2 pounds potatoes
Kosher salt
Instructions
To make sauce, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a deep skillet, then add onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for5 minutes or until softened but not brown. Add garlic, stir and cook 30 seconds. Add wine and bring to a boil. Add tomatoes, vinegar, crushed red pepper, and paprika, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes until a thick sauce forms. When cooked, use an immersion blender to blend or transfer in batches to a blender. Be careful with the hot sauce! Pour into a bowl and set aside.
Rinse out and dry deep skillet. For potatoes, do not peel. Cut into chunky pieces. Heat one inch of oil in the skillet. Add potato pieces and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Alternatively, toss potato in olive oil and salt and roast on a sheet pan at 425, turning once, until tender. They won’t be as crispy in the oven, but they are a bit healthier. 
While potatoes are draining, pour out remaining oil into an empty tin can, return sauce to skillet, and gently reheat. Transfer potatoes to a serving dish and drizzle over the sauce. Top with sprinkle of parmesan and chopped parsley.
-adapted from 100 Best Classic Tapas
ALBÓNDIGAS CASERAS
PINCHO DE POLLO Y CHORIZO
CHAMPIÑONES A LA PLANCHA
ELOTES, OUR FAVORITE!!!

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