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Spanish Recipes - Tempting Tapas Dishes

Spain is famous for its tapas and, whichever Spanish bar youfrequent, in whichever area of the country, you are sure tofind them.

So, what exactly are "tapas" and where did the name come from?

Tapas are, essentially, snacks and the word literally means"cover". The name originates from the card which used to beplaced on top of your drink to protect it from the flies(this can be a hot country!).

At some point in time, it became popular to place a littlesnack on top of this card. At first, this would just havebeen something simple like a few nuts and olives, or a freshslice of crusty Spanish bread plus topping.

In those, not-so-far-gone days, the tapas were free! Thatis not usually the case these days, although you willoccasionally be presented with a small dish of crisps orolives to go with your drink.

Nowadays, there is a wide variety of (paid) tapas, with some bars really going-to-town on them and offeringhighly original, magnificently presented snacks.

But, even a fairly humble bar will present you with theopportunity to enjoy a slice of tortilla (Spanish omelette), boquerones (fresh, marinated anchovies preserved in olive oil and garlic), calamares (squid), champiñones al ajillo (garlic mushrooms), jamón serrano, Manchego cheese, etc.

Are you keen on cooking? Then perhaps you would liketo try out this tapas potato recipe called "PatatasBravas". An old Spanish favorite, it is simple toprepare, using fairly basic ingrediants but, it shouldonly be savored by the courageous as it is quite spicy!Ingrediants are for four people.


750 g potatoes
4 dessertspoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 dessertspoons red vinegar wine
2 teaspoons tomato puréeMethod

1. Peel potatoes and cut into chunks.
2. Fry in oil for 3-4 minutes until lightly colored.
3. Add salt and pepper to potatoes.
4. Cover pan, lower heat and cook for 20 minutes.
5. Sprinkle with paprika and cayenne. Increase heat.
6. Mix wine vinegar with tomato purée. Add to pan.
7. Cook a couple of minutes, constantly stirring.
8. There should be no loose liquid or oil in the pan.

Should you fancy coming to the country to try the original version, there are plenty of afternoon Tapas Tours available throughout Spain for you to enjoy!

Linda Plummer is webmistress ofTop Tour of Spainproviding comprehensive information on Spain for travel, food, language and living.

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