Spain's Tapas and Wine "Food Crawls"
I've only been to Barcelona and Pamplona, Spain for the Bullfights and the Running of the Bulls (San Fermin Festival) but the food is very memorable...we ate paella every night to be exact. However, in many of the larger cities, people gather in the streets to "food crawl" for tapas and wines late into the evening. Tapas is more than a food, it's a "lifestyle" in Spain. Annie Sibonney (above) knows Spain. After starting her own culinary tour company, she's spent the past five years eating her way through the rich cooking history of the country in search of the most memorable meals and culinary pleasures. I love her show on Sunday mornings. She recently featured Tapas on her show, read on...
In Seville alone, there are over 4,000 bars. Tapas can be any "small meal" (appetizer to us) and the locals will stand and visit with friends while sampling tapas at each bar's unique offers. Always served with good breads and olive oils, tapas can be anything from seared tuna, salads, tiny omelets to a small bowl of beef. To food crawl, just try different tapas from the many bars throughout the evening. Northern Spain terrain reminds me of California, however; there you'll find the Mediterranean Catalan chefs making unique tapas and serving great wines.
La Rioja is Spain's main wine growing region.
Annie's Valencia Paella here
Tapas: Tortilla de Patata (Spanish Potato Omelet) Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil (preferably Spanish, Arbequina olive oil variety)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 3/4 pounds potatoes, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced
- 8 eggs
- Baguette slices, for serving
Heat the olive oil to medium-high heat in a 12-inch cast-iron or nonstick skillet. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the potato slices, season with salt and cook over low and slow heat until the potatoes are softened and lightly golden brown around the edges, 30 to 40 minutes, gently shaking the pan from time to time to prevent the potato slices from sticking. When the potatoes are ready, reserve 2 tablespoons of the olive oil from the skillet (now infused with the flavor of those onions and potatoes) and drain the potatoes in a colander or on a paper towel.
Beat the eggs with a generous pinch of salt in a large bowl for about 1 minute. Add the drained caramelized potatoes and onions and stir with a fork to lightly break up the potatoes (this will give the finished Tortilla de Patata a wonderful light fluffy texture). Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of the reserved olive oil in the same skillet until very hot. Pour in the egg and potato mixture and cook on one side, gently shaking the pan occasionally, until the underside is set and very lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Using a plate to cover the pan, carefully invert the omelet onto the plate and then gently slide the omelet back into the pan to cook on the other side until just set and light golden brown, about 5 minutes more. Do not overcook. This Tortilla de Patata is best when barely runny in the very center. Serve immediately with some slices of fresh baguette, or make ahead to serve later in the day at room temperature. Enjoy!
What's your favorite tapas?
You might also like:
My Barcelona post here
My Mediterranean post here