Tempting and Tasty Tapas

TAPAS are a traditional Spanish style of dining where a selection of hors d’oeuvre or cocktail snacks are served with light drinks such as Sherry or cider. The custom of eating tapas while enjoying some drinks in the early evening is widespread in bars and cafes in Spain. The word comes from Tapa (meaning lid) because it originally meant a slice of bread (not sliced pan!!! Maybe a baguette or something local) which was placed on top of a glass of wine to protect it from flies.

TAPAS are a traditional Spanish style of dining where a selection of hors d’oeuvre or cocktail snacks are served with light drinks such as Sherry or cider. The custom of eating tapas while enjoying some drinks in the early evening is widespread in bars and cafes in Spain. The word comes from Tapa (meaning lid) because it originally meant a slice of bread (not sliced pan!!! Maybe a baguette or something local) which was placed on top of a glass of wine to protect it from flies.

with Bridge House Hotel in Tullamore’s Award Winning chef Paddy Kennedy

Once a Spanish tradition Tapas bars can now be found all over the world. Tapas can sometimes take the place of dinner because they are so varied and abundant. They may include Prawns in lemon vinaigrette. Marinated Sardines, Stuffed mushrooms, meatballs, courgette fritters or some Iberian hams.

Tapas are ideal to serve when having a large group of friends over for an afternoon and can be more straight forward way of entertaining than hosting formal dinner parties.

Mushroom Parcels

Ingredients Makes 28 Parcels

50g Butter

1 large Spanish onion peeled and finely diced

1kg locally grown mushrooms diced finely

2 Cloves garlic crushed

2g Grated parmesan cheese

25g Fresh breadcrumbs

1 Bunch basil stalks removed and chopped

100g Butter melted

14 Sheets of Filo or spring roll pastry

Milled pepper and salt for seasoning

Method

Heat a large heavy based pan and add the 50g butter.

Add the onions, garlic and mushrooms to the pan and cook until soft and all liquid is evaporated.

Add the cheese, breadcrumbs and basil and season with salt and milled pepper.

Lay two sheets of pastry on a lightly floured surface and brush each layer with melted butter.

Cut layered sheets into four strips lengthways.

Place one tablespoon of mixture on each piece of pastry.

Fold each pastry sheet diagonally across filling to form triangular parcels and brush with melted butter.

Bake in a pre-heated oven for about fifteen minutes until pastry is golden brown.

PK Tip

This would be also very nice filled with a mixture of good butcher’s black pudding and apple chutney.

Prawn Skewers

Ingredients 28 skewers

28 Large tiger prawns uncooked withcCocktail sticks

4 Cloves garlic peeled and sliced

50ml Virgin olive oil

25g Butter

10g Ginger finely sliced

1 Small bunch flat parsley stalks removed and coarsely chopped

10 Leaves basil shredded

1 Lemon juiced with pips discarded

14 Cherry tomatoes chopped

1 Shallot peeled and diced

Maldon sea salt and milled pepper

Method

Stick a cocktail stick through each prawn.

Place in a bowl and add Remainder of ingredients, marinate for one hour.

Heat a large heavy based pan and add the prawns and remainder of ingredient.

Cook over gentle heat until prawns are cooked through (about 10 minutes).

Do not allow the mixture to burn.

Season with salt and milled pepper.

Serve on a platter for your guests.

PK tip

Handling raw fish can be leave unpleasant odour on your hands so use plastic or latex gloves when preparing. Your fish monger should be happy to cut and prepare your fish for you so you have minimal handling when cooking.

This weeks featured ingredient Rocket

Rocket is a Mediterranean style plant which also grows wild in Asia with a beautiful pungent taste and smell.It is usually used in salads but can be cooked in a little olive oil with salt and milled pepper. It is also lovely served on a pizza with some sun-dried tomatoes.

Young leaves are eaten in salad and are very popular in restaurant menus.

We use about 30kg of rocket every week in the Bridge house.

Next Week more Tapas dishes