Tapas are a type of cuisine from Spain. They are really just a few bites of meat, cheese or olives or toasts with toppings. I should know better than to call this a tapas menu, but these dishes are too simple to fit into the “small plate” category.
What’s the difference?
Much of what is called “tapas” these days are really just a smaller version of a normal dish. Meanwhile, Spanish tapas are relatively simple items that are best served in small porttion – olives, chunks of spicy sausage, croquettes, stuffed pimento peppers, etc.
A small serving of spaghetti with urchin and smoked pancetta is not magically a tapa because it is small. Italians already have their own word for small plates that starts the meal: antipasto (or primi piatti for pasta or risotto).
While I might be taking a little liberty, I think that these dishes would be served in tapas in Spain if these foods were from popular (or grown at all) in Spain. Who knows, I might stumble across a dish of fava beans with my vaso di vino tinto in Madrid next week and be proven right.
Ideal for Mingling
In the meantime, this spring-y spread is perfect for a cocktail-style party centering more around mingling than a seated dinner. Instead having to sit so they can properly tackle a plate full of food, guests can grab a dish and finish it in a few bites without leaving their conversation.
For drinks, stick with light crisp wines that echo the taste of the food without over-powering them. Chardonnay would be fine, or a nice-sipping Pinot Grigio. You could even branch out to a crisp Pinot Gris or a fruity rosé from the Navarro region of Spain.
Green Tapas Menu for Spring
- Fava Beans with Parmesean
- Fresh Fennel Salad
- Braised Cucumbers
- Green Heirloom Tomatoes alla Caprese
- Steamed Artichokes with Lemon Butter Sauce
- Salad of Fresh Herbs
- Basil Cigars with Burrata and Toasted Pine Nuts
To serve, track down every ramekin, dessert plate, or condiment bowl you have available. If you don’t have a flea market’s worth of plates and bowls, pick up some attractive disposable plates at the grocery store.
Arrange each bowl or plate with a tapa-sized amount of once dish: two to three tablespoons fava beans, fennel salad, braised cucumber, or herb salad; two tomato slices or basil cigars, or an artichoke. Set up your food table with a mosaic of mini dishes and let your guests sample throughout the night.
- mins 1-10: Set the water boiling for the fava beans and artichoke steamer. Shell the fava beans and cook. Start the braised cucumber.
- mins 11-15: Assemble the herb salad and slice and dress the tomatoes.
- mins 16-18: Assemble the basil cigars.
- mins 19-20: Make the artichoke dipping sauce.
- mins 21-23: Shell and dress the fava beans.
- mins 24-28: Make the fennel salad.
- mins 29-30: Distribute the tapas to your serving bowls.