Tapas is a Spanish word meaning to cover or lid. Back then, tapas were used to cover drinks to protect from dust or flies, and to make wine look more expensive. As years go by, tapas were included in drinks to stimulate the thirst of the customer which will make them drink more.
However, snacks became a popular drink partner in Spain. Some of their most popular dishes are being served as tapas.
Want to know more about them? Check these 10 tapas dishes you can get for free when you buy drinks!
Jamon or ham is one of the first-ever tapas that cover the lid of drinks. If you haven’t seen one, you can visit Spanish restaurants or bars and order some.
When it comes to Spanish ham, you’ll never have enough. Moreover, they have the most expensive ham in the world because the pigs they cure undergo a lot of processes while growing up. They use black Iberian pigs which are free-range and feed on mostly acorns.
For the curing process, first, the back leg parts of the pig are buried in salt for not more than 20 days. Then, they hang them and cure them until ready for the market.
Just like ham, cheese was also one of the first tapas there was. One famous cheese in Spain is Manchego. It has been produced for years, even when farmers use weaved grass as their mould. Manchego cheese goes well with olives, bread, or sun-dried tomatoes.
Nowadays, different kinds of cheese are important when making or cooking tapas. They are used to add more flavour and texture to well-known tapas in Spain.
3. Pimientos del Piquillos
Have you tried pimientos del piquillos before? If you’re not familiar, it’s red peppers grilled in an open fire, then peeled and seeded, and sold as preserved. Piquillo is a variety of pepper that grows in the Ebro River Valley in Spain.
It’s amazing how a bitter raw pepper can transform into a smoky and sweet delicacy. Usually, pimientos del piquillos are served with fish or vegetables
4. Tortilla española
Although there’s no clear story as to why tortillas became popular in Spain, some say it was when the general of the Spanish Army in the 1830s. The General and his troop visited a home but the wife didn’t have any food to offer so she just mixed potatoes, onion, and eggs. She turned the three ingredients into a cake-like dish.
5. Angulas al Ajillo
Angulas al Ajillo is a combination of fish, roasted garlic, and olive oil. The fish used in this dish are baby eels that are around three-inch-long.
Before, baby eels didn’t cost that much but nowadays, they are considered one of Spain’s most expensive food.
Have you tried croquetas before? Croquetas is the Spanish version of croquettes. And while the main ingredient for croquettes is potatoes, croquetas are filled with bechamel sauce. The sauce is also called the “white sauce” made from cooked flour, butter, and then mixed with milk.
7. Boquerones en Vinagre
Boquerones en Vinagre means anchovies marinated in vinegar. Although there are other ways of preparing anchovies like salt-cured, and battered and fried, marinating is one of the most popular.
Marinating anchovies with vinegar is easy. You just have to add olive oil and minced garlic, wait for a while, and you’ll have a taste of a popular tapa in Spain. The hardest part in making this dish is the cleaning of anchovies and making sure that the dish won’t go bad.
Chorizo, the Spanish version of sausage, has been produced since the 17th century. It was also the time when paprika (which is also called pimenton) reached Spain, which made the chorizo red and a bit spicy.
Chorizo is made from a combination of ground pork and high-quality spices, stuffed in a washed intestine, then smoked.
9. Gambas a la Plancha
Imagine a plate of smoky grilled shrimp sitting next to a cold bottle of beer. Isn’t it a great image of the best Friday night? Don’t forget the fun brought about by your friends who you missed for at least a week.
Anyway, although it’s a challenge to peel and eat shrimp in a crowded bar, Spaniards are skillful enough to savour the dish.
10. Patatas bravas
Another potato-based tapas is the patatas bravas originated in Madrid. It’s a simple dish made primarily from potatoes, tomato sauce, paprika, and olive oil.
Before, the Spaniards used potatoes as ornaments or feeds for animals. However, potatoes became one of the most popular ingredients when they discovered that they can be cooked into various dishes. Aside from that, potatoes are easy to grow and cheap.
After reading all about the dishes that made you hungry, it’s time to taste them all! Don’t forget to order at least one of these dishes when you visit Spanish restaurants. Don’t forget to share with us your favourite by leaving a comment below!