Townsville Bulletin

Plates of bite-size fun

TAKE A FLAVOUR TRIP TO SPAIN WITH THESE TASTY HOMEMADE TAPAS

- TYRA LAWLER-CASS

There once was a time where bread was put on top of a glass of wine to keep the flies away. That was probably the first tapas – a glass of wine and a small piece of bread. Since then, tapas have evolved into a range of dishes that are always enjoyed with a glass of wine.

WHAT EXACTLY IS TAPAS?

Tapas are literally small meals that are shared with friends and family.

Traditiona­lly, tapas was known as just bread with a range of meat, cheese and olives. However, tapas these days includes meat skewers, crusty bread, flavoursom­e dips, succulent olives and a medley of chopped or pureed vegetables laden in olive oil.

They’re common in bars where groups of friends can enjoy small portions with their drinks. The good thing about tapas is that it doesn’t fill you up straight away. Plus, it’s an excellent way to try new dishes and flavours without ordering a full plate.

HOW DO I MAKE TAPAS AT HOME?

Whether it’s a small gathering with friends or a big family celebratio­n, tapas is the perfect way to feed everyone.

Due to their size, they’re also easy to make. Take Spanish garlic prawns as an example. They’re simple, loaded with garlic and spices, and go perfectly with fresh, unbuttered bread to mop up the juices.

You can also try making your own Mediterran­ean chilli mussels. Supersuccu­lent, they’re best served with toasted focaccia drizzled with olive oil and oregano and a squeeze of lemon.

A classic salt and pepper calamari dish is another way to summon sunny days in the Mediterran­ean.

HOW DO YOU EAT TAPAS?

Tapas is mostly finger food served in small portions, which is commonly eaten with one’s hands.

You can eat larger tapas plates using a knife and fork, and even some served on a skewer.

Some tapas, like the Spanish prawns, are served in traditiona­l clay pots and can be eaten with cutlery or by dipping bread into the sauce.

HOW MANY TAPAS SHOULD I ORDER IN A RESTAURANT?

Some tapas are heavier than others, especially if they contain more carbohydra­tes, such as potato croquettes.

Others have more meat. Start with ordering four tapas and pace yourself from there. The good thing about eating tapas in a bar is that you can always order more.

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