vintage post: tapas at home.

This post is from September 2009 on my first (now defunct) food blog, when I made dinner for my “friend”.  I have to smile when remembering this dinner because it was actually the first time I’d ever had Jules over to my apartment, and he was running late.  He finally arrived with a bottle of Calera Pinot Noir and we ended up eating and talking and hanging out until 4am, and like a gentleman, he went home instead of trying to stay over.  Spanish food has since had an even more special place in my heart!  Disclaimer:  the photos below are kind of poor, I hope I have gotten better in taking photos since then!

Image by Jessica Spengler
photo via Jessica Spengler

One September evening, I told my friend I’d make him dinner – something that I like to do for any of my friends who love to eat – and racked my brain thinking of what to make for him. I’ve been on a pasta ban for a while, so I didn’t want to do Italian, and French cooking seemed a little too formal, so I decided on Spanish tapas. Easy, simple, using mostly similar ingredients, I’d be able to make several dishes within minutes. Two of my “must haves” are Camarones al Mojo de Ajo and Pan Tumaca – both are incredibly easy and require little to no accuracy in measurement.


Half a pound of large white shrimp, peeled and deveined but with tails still attached
6-7 cloves of garlic, finely minced
salt and pepper
Pimenton de la Vera
Olive oil
Chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a skillet that holds heat well (heavy bottomed is preferable). Saute the garlic until it is lightly browned, then add the shrimp and saute until the shrimp is cooked through and the garlic has darkened. Be VERY careful not to burn the garlic. Season with salt and pepper, then toss with a dash of pimenton de la vera.

Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley.


The preparation of pan tumaca is pretty similar to that of Italian bruschetta, but instead of using chopped tomatoes, I use a puree. When using olive oil as a dressing (not heating it up), use the best tasting olive oil you can afford.

Plain baguette
One whole clove of fresh garlic, peeled
Extra virgin olive oil
Jamon serrano
Large, ripe heirloom tomato (I like the reddest, ripest ones you can find!)
Salt and pepper
Chopped fresh parsley

Using a food processor, puree the tomato and season with salt and pepper. Let the puree sit for a few minutes to rest. Slice the baguette and toast them in the oven. While the slices are still warm, rub them with the fresh garlic. You can use as much or as little as you prefer – be warned that fresh garlic is quite potent, so you may want to keep that in mind! Arrange the slices on a plate and top each one with a generous spoonfull of tomato puree. Top with a small piece of jamon serrano. Drizzle olive oil across all the bread slices, and garnish with parsley.

Easy right? I told you so. Buen provecho!

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fiendishly fond of cooking, SoulCycle, Pilates, green smoothies, and Korean spas.

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