How to Host a Tapas Party
"Tapas" is Spanish for "small plates." Tapas foods are usually appetizer dishes served in small portions so that everyone can share food and have a taste of what is being offered.
Planning a tapas party can be easy and inexpensive. You can provide the food yourself, or ask your guests to each bring a dish so that you can have a potluck tapas dinner!
Tapas dishes can be as simple as crackers or bread and spreads, chunks of cheese and spicy sausage, or veggies and dips or as tasty and complex as some of the recipes I'll share. Although tapas is typically Spanish fare, you can serve any of your favorite snacks that are appetizer-sized! You can have tapas deserts, too! Fruit chunks, mini cheesecakes, shot glasses full of mousse are just some ideas for some bite-sized desserts!
Some of my favorite tapas recipes!
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 12 (1/2-inch) thick slices French baguette
- 12 ounces Gorgonzola, at room temperature
- 2 red bell peppers, grilled, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
- 2 yellow bell peppers, grilled, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
Heat the grill to high.
Combine the oil, basil and salt and pepper in a blender and blend for 5 minutes. Strain the oil into a bowl.
Grill the bread on both sides until lightly golden brown. Remove from the grill and spread some of the blue cheese on 1 side of each slice, top with some of the peppers and drizzle with a little of the basil oil.
Hot Tomato Tarts
- 2 cups fresh diced tomatoes
- 1/3 cup diced green onions
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or thyme, optional
- 1 cup shredded Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 (12-ounce) can Pillsbury country biscuits, 10 count
Mix together tomatoes, green onions, salt, pepper, and basil together. Place in a colander to drain off excess juice. Mix shredded cheese and mayonnaise together. Fold into tomato mixture.
Pinch each biscuit in half. On a lightly floured surface roll each piece into a circle approximately 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of tomato mixture in the center of the biscuit. Moisten the edge of the biscuit with you finger using a drop of water. Fold over and press firmly using fingertips to seal entire edges.
Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 12 to15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter, sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
Three Cheese Crostini
- 1 1/2 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots
- 2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, loosely measured
- 1/4 cup prepared basil pesto
- 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel, loosely measured
- 16 slices French or artisan type baguette, cut 1/4-inch thick on the diagonal
- 2 to 3 grinds black peppercorns
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup finely shredded fresh Pecorino Romano cheese, loosely measured
Position an oven rack 5 to 6 inches from the broiler element. Preheat the broiler to high. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
In a small bowl gently toss the tomatoes, shallots, 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and vinegar together. Spread out the mixture on the prepared baking sheet. Set the baking sheet on a rack under the broiler element. Broil until the tomatoes begin to show a few black spots, about 4 minutes with oven door closed. Turn the mixture, using a spatula, and broil 3 minutes longer with the oven door closed. Remove from the oven and transfer the mixture with a slotted spoon to a small bowl; set the bowl aside until needed. Retain the broiler heat on high.
While the tomatoes are broiling, combine the ricotta, blue cheese, pesto, 1/2 teaspoon salt, lemon juice and lemon peel in a medium bowl.
Arrange the baguette slices on a large baking sheet and brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Put the baking sheet on the rack under the broiler element and broil until golden, about 1 minute or so per side, watching carefully. Remove from oven.
To assemble, season the tomato mixture with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and peppercorns, then stir in the basil. Spread some of the ricotta mixture over each crostini. Top with the tomato/onion mixture, then sprinkle with shredded cheese, dividing all the ingredients equally among the slices. Transfer to a serving plate and serve.
Set the mood for your tapas party with some great music!
Don't forget dessert!
Mini Pineapple Cakes
- 1 (3 1/2-pound) pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces (or 1 - 20-ounce can crushed pineapple in 100 percent pineapple juice, drained and juice reserved!)
- 2 tablespoons pineapple juice, plus 2/3 cup
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 egg whites
- 2/3 cup water
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
- 1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix
- Special Equipment: 6-cup mini Bundt pan
Place an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a mini Bundt pan.
For the Cakes: Place the pineapple in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped. In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, combine the chopped pineapple, 2 tablespoons pineapple juice, sugar, and butter over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook until the liquid evaporates and the mixture begins to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Spoon the pineapple mixture into the prepared pan.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg whites, water, vegetable oil, almond extract, cake mix, and 2/3 cup pineapple juice. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the mixture on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour the batter over the cooked pineapple. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes until the cakes begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and the tops are golden. Allow the cakes to cool for 15 minutes. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the cakes. Put a baking sheet, upside-down, on top of the parchment paper. Flip both pans over and allow the cakes to cool completely while still in the Bundt pan, about 1 hour. Unmold the cakes and place on individual serving plates.
Sangria Ice Pops
- 1 (750-ml) bottle fruity red wine
- 1 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup simple syrup
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 tablespoons red grape juice
- 2 apples, cored and chopped
- 2 oranges, chopped
- 2 ripe pears, chopped
In a medium saucepan, reduce the wine to about 2 1/2 cups. While still hot, add the remaining ingredients and steep overnight, refrigerated.
Strain the mixture and fill ice pop molds; freeze until solid.
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