The sun is out, and so am I! Potting up flowers for my patio, finishing up the final touches on my newly remodeled herb garden, and thinking about — what else — food! What to eat on the patio, that is easy, casual, satisfying and scrumptious. Spanish cuisine intrigues me, and I an enticed by small plates, or tapas, which originated there. So, here’s what I’m thinking:
Banderillas. These are small snacks assembled on a toothpick, with a number of complimenting flavors to be consumed in one bite so that the flavors meld in your mouth. It’s like a little party. I have two favorites — Potato, Olive & Tomato, Shrimp & Red Bell Pepper. Here’s what you’ll need to prepare them:
Potato, Olive & Tomato Banderillas
½ pound red skinned potatoes, boiled and then cut into bite-size chunks
½ to 1 cup lemon aioli(recipe follows)
½ pound cherry tomatoes cut in half if necessary to make bite size
1 small jar pimento stuffed Manzanilla olives
Toss potato chunks with a generous amount of mayonnaise. Thread half a cherry tomato onto a small skewer, followed by a coated potato chunk, then an olive.
A fun way to serve these is to stick the ends of the loaded skewers into half a potato or lemon, which has been placed on a platter, cut side down.
Shrimp, Artichoke & Roasted Red Bell Pepper Banderillas
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and cut into quarters
¼ pound small to medium cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 roasted red pepper, cut into strips
juice of 1 lemon
Skewer an artichoke quarter, then a shrimp, top with a folded strip of roasted pepper. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the shrimp.
1 cup prepared mayonnaise
zest of one lemon
juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & white pepper to taste
Mix all. Store in refrigerator.
Of course, tapas originated with bread, so quite a number of them involve bread of some sort. If you going to make the lemon aioli, you might set some aside for this dish:
1 baguette, thinly sliced
1/2 cup lemon aioli
2-3 tomatoes, about the same circumference as the baguette, sliced thinly
1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin Spanish Olive oil
Spread each baguette slice with a bit of aioli and top with a slice of tomato. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. These may be prepared an hour in advance. Serve on a platter with parsley.