What to Eat: Tapas

Looking to share a meal with friends? Tapas, the epitome of Spanish culinary sophistication, is the way to go.

Joseph DeLeo

Sizzling Garlic Shrimp by Anya Von Bremzen

A leading international food journalist will put traditional shrimp cocktail to shame with this flavorful dish.

La Casa del Abuelo is one of the most famous tapas bars in all of Madrid, and for good reason. The tiny, cramped, shadowy restaurant is not only one of the oldest tapas joints in town, but is credited with making the city’s best shrimp a la plancha and garlic shrimp— gambas al ajillo The garlicky shrimp arrives at the small tables in ceramic plate-bowls, sizzling hot and deeply aromatic. The shrimp is never overcooked, the garlic is never overpowering, and there’s always enough delicious sauce left over for sopping up with a good piece of crusty bread.

Click here for the recipe.

Spanish Meatballs by Victoria Blashford-Snell and Brigitte Hafner

Two of the food world’s greatest minds come together to offer a Spanish take on an Italian staple—no spaghetti needed.

Spanish meatballs—or albondigas—can be found on tapas menus from Spain to New York to California, as they’re one of the most famous and most beloved of all tapas. And who can disagree? Pork and veal meatballs spiced with nutmeg and parsley and coated in a light blanket of tomato sauce is an ideal small plate, and they taste just as good at the end of a fork as they do on the end of a toothpick.

Click here for the recipe.

Fried Beer-Marinated Chicken Wings with Salsa Brava by Penelope Casas

A Spanish culinary ambassador marries a traditional tapas sauce with an American finger-food favorite.

At Madrid’s La Brava tapas bar, they take their eponymous sauce seriously—so seriously that a sign over the entrance to the restaurant reads, “Sauce with patent number 357942.” La Brava claims to have invented the classic Patatas Bravas, a spicy, addictive dish of fried potatoes smothered in Brava sauce. Like so many tapas fans, Spanish food expert Penelope Casas loves Brava sauce and has appropriated it for these fantastic chicken wings, using her own recipe that perfectly mimics the flavors of the top-secret sauce made at La Brava.

Click here for the recipe.

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Spanish Omeletteby Nigella Lawson

The Food Network star shares the perfect recipe for a breakfast favorite with an ethnic twist.

Not all tapas need to be served warm, and Tortilla Española is proof. Potatoes are sliced into bite-size pieces, sautéed with onion, and bound with whisked egg. Lawson takes the recipe one step further and adds chopped roasted red peppers for what she calls, a “little touch of óle.”

Click here for the recipe.

Octopus Galician-Style by Mario Batali

He may be known for all things Italian, but this world-renowned chef will have diners singing his praises with sensational seafood dish.

There are a handful of foods that even the most experienced home cooks are reluctant to try cooking at home: innards, whole animals, and cardoons are just a few. Octopus is another. But leave it to Molto Mario to make octopus at home seem like the most normal thing in the world. The delicate flavor of the octopus needs little more than good olive oil, coarse sea salt, and a touch of hot pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika) to make this your new favorite tapa.

Click here for the recipe.

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