This fall I hosted a tapas dinner party for some friends. I figured it would be the perfect theme since I love appetizer-ish foods. I spent more time testing out recipes for this party than I normally do. This may have been the reason that I delayed confirming the date for a couple of weeks… er, months. I admit that I was hoping to impress this particular group because they have fabulous taste. I had been to their house for dinner and was utterly impressed by a six-course Italian meal with wine pairings. I could hardly set out some chips and dip after that.
Typically when I have a dinner party I focus on a few main items. After I was knee deep into the planning of this dinner it hit me that making an impressive showing of tapas means you are making lots of small dishes. In the end, I chose to focus on tapas that I could make ahead of time or that would take minimal effort while the guests were there. I think everything turned out well and I would definitely make this menu again with no changes.
It is a no brainer that you have to have sangria at a tapas party. The recipe I used (available here) was dangerously good. Watch out… that boozey fruit will sneak up on you. I also served Spanish red wines. I kept all of the drinks, glasses, and ice on a side table.
I mentioned that my friend served an amazing six course Italian meal with wine pairings, but I didn’t mention that he also had the menu on themed paper… in Italian. What is a girl to do? I decided to print my menu to look like the chalkboards they have at tapas restaurants, and put it in a photo frame. It was nice to have it out with the food because everyone could look at the menu and know what they were eating. You might say that it was the Perfect Pairing for a tapas party! I apologize for the fuzziness of the picture. I chose not to use a flash because that would just ruin the mood but it actually kind of ruined the picture.
I had half of the tapas out when the guests arrived. I considered this the “first course” as silly as that sounds when you are serving tapas. I wanted everyone to kind of graze while they enjoyed their drinks. The first round included rosemary cocktail nuts, roasted vegetable dip, manchego cheese with brown butter honey sauce, and roasted mushrooms with goat cheese along with assorted crackers and crostini. Click on any of the dishes for the recipe.
While we were enjoying the first round of tapas I finished up the final touches on the second course. The second course was slow cooker beef short ribs over celery root and apple puree, roasted shrimp with lemon aioli, herbed tomatoes, and patatas bravas with roasted garlic aioli.
So by this point the wheels had fallen off the presentation bus, so to speak. I just took a quick picture to capture the moment.
We finished off the meal with homemade pumpkin pie and cinnamon spiced whipped cream. I didn’t take a picture of this because I am pretty sure I brought the mixing bowl of whipped cream to the table. We were moments away from playing Catch Phrase and I was not about to take the time to take a picture. I made the standard Libby pumpkin pie but I did use my all-time favorite homemade pressed pie crust recipe.
All in all I think it was a successful tapas dinner party!