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Tapas for Dummies?


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I know very little (beyond the obvious) about Spanish cuisine, but my wife is a big fan of the Boston area tapas restaurants and I'd like to learn how to play some of those tunes at home. Thus, I'm looking for a somewhat traditionalist English-language starting point to cooking tapas -- something that will help me duplicate the classics one sees at most US tapas places, but with good guidance around authentic ingredients. Penelope Casas's book Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain seems to have been the gold standard at one time; is it still? If not, what is?

John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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Penélope Casas's is a good starting point, also worth buying is Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America by Jose Andres. In a more sofisticated style you can check also The New Spanish Table by Anya Von Bremzen.

Edited by Rogelio (log)
Rogelio Enríquez aka "Rogelio"
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I agree with the suggestions on the Casas, Hirigoyen and Andres books. I would strongly suggest reading both Andres and Casas to get a foundation in both the traditional and more modern. Andres also has a book out called Made in Spain, which is helpful.

We spend a lot of time researching Tapas and Pintxos for an annual party we have. One of the real treasures is a small book called "Easy Tapas: Spanish Snacks to Serve with Cocktails." by Beresford. This book has some of the best traditional recipies I have found in any source. Particularly the Albondigas, Pinchos Morunos and Pimientos, which are always huge hits at our party. In fact, the Albondigas is the best meatball recipie I have used from any culture.

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Christinajun mentioned San Francisco...I live there, and when someone says tapas I immediately think of Cha-Cha-Cha (and so does everyone else here, it's the one restaurant everyone in the city agrees on).

Their cookbook is no longer in print, but it can be picked up pretty cheap...

http://www.amazon.com/Cook-Eat-Cha-Festive-Recipes/dp/0811811468

It's more of a cuban/puerto rican tapas cookbook, but in my experience they have better/bolder flavor. And as an added bonus, you get the recipe for their sangria (tip: cut the sugar in half and make a simple syrup using a 1:1 water/sugar ratio with a tablespoon of corn syrup to prevent crystallization, it mixes into the wine way easier). This stuff is a hit at my house parties...we consumed over 6 gallons of it on Friday.

I go to this restaurant about once a month, and I could eat their cajun shrimp, garlic-sherry mushrooms, and fried new potatoes every day if I needed to.

Edited by therippa (log)
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