Tapas is a Spanish classic. If you’re the kind of person who orders a takeaway and then wants to share it, it’s your lucky day. That’s because tapas is built for sharing. The whole point is to order a table full of tasty appetizers and then split them with your friends. To help you nail your order, and make yourself sound like a pro, here are 6 awesome tapas dishes you have to try.
- Patatas Bravas
These fiery potato segments are a staple of Spanish cuisine. You would be hard pressed to find any tapas restaurant in Spain that does not offer some variation of the dish.
Potatoes are chopped into small pieces and then fried in oil until crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. They are then topped with a rich and spicy tomato sauce for a sublime finishing touch.
Although patatas bravas roughly translates as potatoes for the brave, perhaps patatas para todas would be a better name for them. That’s because these are potatoes for everyone!
Like patatas bravas, Carrillada is a dish with several manifestations. Put simply, it is meat taken from the cheek of the animal and braised until it is of a melt in the mouth consistency.
Carillada der ternara is braised beef cheeks, whilst carillada de cerdo and carrilada iberica are braised pork cheeks. The former is often paired with a red wine sauce, whilst a popular sauce covering for the pork is made up of white win, onion, and carrot.
Carillada certainly won’t be on the menu of every restaurant you visit. It is an expensive cut of meat for a restaurateur and that translates to a hefty price tag for yourself. Even so, it is delicious and well worth trying.
- Croquetas de Jamon
Croquettes are not an exclusively Spanish dish. They originally hail from France but can now be found across the world, although the Spanish versions are right up there with the best to be had!
Like all croquettes, croquetas de jamon are cylindrical parcels which are filled, breaded, and stuffed. The filling itself is a combination of bechamel sauce and serrano ham. Most dry-cured ham produced in Spain is termed Serrano ham, so to the Spanish it’s a pretty standard ingredient. Jamon Iberico would be my recommendation for a proper Croquetas de Jamon though. It’s the best of the best and your croquetas deserve that!
- Gambas al Ajillo
Gambas al Ajillo harks back to the beautiful simplicity of Spanish cuisine in much the same way as patatas bravas does.
Prawns in an oily garlic sauce with just a hint of spice. Nothing more and yet the dish is absolutely delicious. Again you can order this anywhere in Spain for a quick snack, or as part of a larger meal. You won’t regret it if you do!
- Calamares Fritos
Sticking with sea food and on a list of tapas dishes, it’s difficult to leave calamari off!
A lot of people, particularly those who have never tried squid, are repulsed by the idea of eating a cephalopod. That’s no wonder, squid doesn’t look like an animal that should be eaten. You really should not knock calamares fritos until you’ve tried it though.
Squid rings, and even tentacles, are lightly fried and then served with lemon wedges, as well as a garlic infused sauce, namely aioli. Squid has a wonderfully subtle flavour and delicate texture. With a little crisp on the outside, tang of lemon, and punch of garlic, calamares fritos is a true taste of Spain!
- Chorizo al Vino
Chorizo cooked in wine. CHORIZO COOKED IN WINE, doesn’t that sound fantastic?
Well, it really is. Chorizo is a Spanish delicacy in itself. It’s a smoked poked sausage with a kick to it. Doused in wine and then cooked to the nine, chorizo al vino is actually my favourite dish on the list. Even when you’ve munched your way through the food, you can mop the sauce up with a nice slice of crusty bread.
That’s a round up of six of classic tapas dishes you should give a try. If there’s a Spanish restaurant near you, then you should definitely grab one of these to try. I didn’t put albondigas on the list but it earns an honorable recommendation too. Stay safe out there people. There are longer and better posts to come so stay tuned!