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How to Throw a Successful Tapas Party

In which we find a wildly handsome Spanish man

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Step 1: Find a Spanish Man.

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Step 2: Find a Spanish Ham.

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Preferably, a wildly handsome Spanish friend with a hunk of Spanish ham that his mother sent him.  Jorge had looks.  And he had the ham.   What follows is an evening of many, many stages that included overcoming fears of anchovies, quail eggs, and two romantic party members who ate their share, doted on each other, and cooked absolutely nothing at all.

Additional ingredients needed:

  • A baguette
  • Avocados
  • Anchovies
  • Garlic
  • Shrimp
  • Dried Red Chilies
  • Eggs
  • Potatoes
  • Copious olive oil
  • Wine
  • No hurry

Step 3: Find a Spanish Wine.  Here is the white we bought from the Rueda region, which we followed by a Rioja.  Authentic wine glasses preferred.

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Step 4: Invite a frisky young couple to be taken away by the romantic event.

They are not for cooking, but for atmosphere.  Slave over them as they continue to coddle in the dim candle light.

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Step 5: Before the meal begins, pour 4 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar over a carton of chopped strawberries.  Set aside to stew, tossing periodically.

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Step 6: Import special Spanish crackers, which taste like smooth pretzel crackers.

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Step 7: Lay out your Serrano Jamon...

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...and Spanish cheese of choice.

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Recruit your Spanish friend to slice the bread.

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Step 8: Buy anchovies and get over it.

Anchovy

Really.  Get over it.  Mash up 2 avocados in a rustic authentic Spanish mortar and pestle.

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Spread it over the pieces of bread.

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Remove one long, grainy looking anchovy and place it across avocado and bread.

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Explain to the playful mates they have no business questioning the presence of the fishy friends.  They will eat it or cook something themselves.  They will eat and rejoice.

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Step 9: Find Quail Eggs.  These are difficult but not impossible to find.  You might have better luck finding an actual quail and seeing if you can coax it into a fair trade.  They like seeds.  Or, go to Citarella.

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Heat an inch of oil.  Using a small knife, carefully split the quail egg.

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Drop it into the oil.

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Top a baguette slice with more Spanish ham, preferably by the Spanish Man.  Lay an egg on top while the yolk is just barely runny.  Open your bottle of red.  Distribute quail egg concoctions.

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In our case, quail eggs set off strange chemical reactions in the male half of the species.  He began to gaze into the eyes of the female, inquiring about shampoo essences and if she liked Sunday naps.  The chefs were once again ignored.

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Step 10: Find a Spanish ceramic bowl that perfectly cooks the shrimp.  If you don't have one, call it quits.

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Peel the shrimp.

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Chop up some garlic, and crush dried red chilies.  Pour oil in the Spanish ceramic bowl, turn up to high, and quickly saute the garlic and pepper.   When they are done, turn off the heat and toss the shrimp in.

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Listen as Spanish Man talks emphatically in broken English about how the ceramic holds the heat and you can turn off the flame while quickly the shrimp cooks.  "Immediately!  Turn it off!"  Spanish Man is emphatic.

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Step 11: Main Course - Spanish Potato Omelet

In a couple inches of oil, cook your sliced potatoes.  This will look extremely unhealthy.

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However, when the potatoes are soft, remove with a slotted spoon and press the oil out of them until almost dry.  With a convenient bowl of whisked eggs nearby, you can put the half-mashed potatoes right into the mixture.

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Once all the potatoes are transferred, drain all but a tablespoon or two of the oil.  Pour egg mixture into the skillet over medium heat.

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Call your Spanish friend, who will take care of the acrobatics involved in flipping the omelet.

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Arrange the food around a fancy candle and any leftover Spanish ham and wine.

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The frenzied lovers will pause and express their love for all your hard work.

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Then you will blow their minds when you pull out the strawberries, which will be a wonderful texture, both sweet and subtly tangy.

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They will want to hug you.  They will want to pay you.

And all you're going to be able to do is point to the handsome Spanish Man with his beautiful Spanish Ham.

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