Easy Entertaining

Spanish Flavors

Bring home a taste of Spain with easy tapas and wine delights
Spanish Flavors

Who says hors d’oeuvres have to be fancy? Not the Spanish. In the land of the late-late evening meal, tapas and a glass of wine are the preferred predinner ritual. Olives marinated with herbs, almonds dusted with spices, crunchy roasted potato chunks, and cheese wedges topped with roasted red peppers—these are just a sampling from a Spanish tradition that’s all about savory simplicity.

Spanish Wines 101
Whether you’re serving tapas or just want a nice bottle for dinner, Spanish wines offer big flavor at bargain prices. “In the past 20 years, Spanish wines have undergone a great change and gotten lighter and fresher. And they’re still undervalued,” explains Michael Weiss, professor of wine at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and coauthor of WineWise. Here, a few types to look for:

Albariño Light, fruity white wine made from Albariño grapes.

Cava This Spanish bubbly offers the best value in sparkling wine, according to Weiss. “Brut is especially versatile and can go with a wide range of foods, and prices range from $8 to $20 for good-quality cavas.”

Jumilla These fruity reds have undergone a taste revolution. “They’re off the beaten track, so any of them have to be good, otherwise they wouldn’t be imported,” says Weiss.

Ribeiro Named for the region in Galicia where they’re made, Ribeiros are crisp, light whites.

Rioja The most famous wine region of Spain produces full-bodied reds, crisp whites, and dry rosés. Gran Reserva Riojas have been aged two years in oak barrels and three years in bottles and have rich, complex flavors, says Weiss.

Verdejo Smooth, full-bodied wine similar to Sauvignon Blanc.

get the recipes

Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas

Not Yet Rated

Patatas bravas means “fierce potatoes,” and hot smoked Spanish paprika gives the sauce for these roasted spuds an addictive bite. Spoon the sauce over the potatoes, or serve in a bowl along with toothpicks for dunking the potato wedges.

more

Spiced Almonds

Not Yet Rated

Tapas-style almonds are traditionally deep-fried in oil, but this recipe gets the same crunchy results from oven roasting.

more

Marinated Red Bell Peppers and Manchego Cheese

Not Yet Rated

Sweet, smoky roasted red bell peppers pair with Spain’s revered manchego cheese for a sublime tapas dish. If you can’t find manchego, substitute thin slices of pecorino Romano.

more

Herb-laced Olive Medley

Not Yet Rated

An overnight soak in a marinade of olive oil, garlic, lemon, and herbs turns plain olives into a taste sensation. This recipe calls for brine-cured olives, but you can use any type you prefer, even canned.

more

you might also like



comments

Hi left coast liz, tapas are small plates (or appetizers). They're popular in Spanish restaurants and are often accompanied by wine or cocktails.

Lisa - 2013-09-27 15:34:46

I clicked 3x to get here in hopes of finding out what tapas are. I still don't have a clue except to know they might contain olives, cheese, or almonds. Okay, but what are tapas?

left coast liz - 2013-09-18 02:43:55