Olive tapenade is delicious, but the addition of anchovies and capers makes the famous spread multidimensional.
Finding a crowd-pleasing vegetarian version of tapas can be quite a feat, but these oozy spinach croquettes are a winner with everyone.
Patatas bravas simply translates as brave potatoes. They are sliced fried potatoes smothered in a rich tomato sauce with a hint of smoky spiciness.
This is a delightful crunchy concoction of nuts and seeds to graze on alongside a glass of wine. If you have concerns about nut allergies, replace the almonds with extra pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
A whole globe artichoke becomes a magical treat as you peel off the leaves, dip and eat as you work your way to the more meaty heart. To serve this, everyone just reaches into the centre of the table where you have the single artichoke on a plate and the vinaigrette in a bowl next to it — just dunk away and eat together.
When small courgettes flower in summer, they are a treat to behold. They are perfect for stuffing and require little time to cook. Honey might seem a surprising ingredient in this dish, but lavender honey has a more savoury flavour than most honey and beautifully complements the salty goats' cheese.
These croquettes are small nuggets of rich béchamel sauce that’s been thickened and flavoured, left to chill and then breaded and fried. They are scrumptious little morsels.
The great thing about doing a small tortilla is that it feeds 4 in a tapas portion perfectly, but also allows the dish to be slightly underdone, meaning a gooey middle.
While the ingredients are simple the result is excellent. Garlic really brings out the flavour of mushrooms. Be sure to have plenty of bread to soak up the delicious juices.
The combination of ingredients for this delicious savoury pastry is classic. The great news is that it works brilliantly with a whole variety of other options. You can freeze what you don’t eat or just eat the leftovers as snacks. You can also make this several hours in advance and bake it just before serving.
Quail with a Middle Eastern influence, coated in five-spice powder and finished in piquant pomegranate molasses and seeds.
This is tapas at its best. The creamy curd cheese slowly melts into the warm lentils, while the beetroot releases its juices. All the flavours ooze together. If you cannot find goats' curd, a very young and soft chèvre (goats' cheese) will make a fine substitute.
A spring vegetable native to the Mediterranean, asparagus is well worth the wait for its unbeatable flavour and freshness. This dish is so simple to prepare and the combination of textures from the asparagus, spinach and pine kernels is a treat.
The most iconic of Spanish dishes, the joy of paella comes from flinging in whatever big-flavoured ingredients you fancy, so feel free to experiment.
This recipe encapsulates the simplicity of rustic Spanish cooking. The mingling flavours of the marinade combine beautifully with the sweet succulent prawns, while charred edges from the barbecue or griddle give the slightest of crunches and a heady smoked aroma. You can substitute jumbo prawns, but the king prawns or royal red prawns look much more authentic.
This Italian classic has had a Spanish makeover with anchovy mayo and crisped garlic.
A rich red wine reduction dresses and glosses beef tenderloin while the blue cheese slowly oozes as it melts against the meat. Rioja is a quintessentially Spanish wine and a perfect partner for beef tenderloin.
Three different types of flavourful Mediterranean sausage served with sticky balsamic onions. Bliss.
This is an Italian appetizer, but it makes the most wonderful tapas. Expect pink lamb, surrounded by crisp fragrant crumbs dotted with capers and herbs.
Meaty little balls with a fragrant selection of whole spices and the unexpected crunch of bright green pistachio nuts. Delicious!
It cannot be denied that kebabs of tender chunks of marinated and lightly charred lamb are always a pleasing prospect. Yet when served on top of emerald green broad beans with a zingy lemony dressing, this dish takes on elegance far beyond the common kebab.
A favourite tapas dish of really simple finger food. The paprika and honey marinade gives the chicken an irresistible sticky, spicy glaze.
To make these rillettes (which are similar to a pâté), the duck is slowly cooked in its own fat and then shredded, mixed with some of the duck fat and juices, and allowed to set in a terrine. Normally served with cornichons, these rillettes have a Spanish twist and are served with membrillo (quince paste) and hot toast.
Melt-in-the-mouth venison steak is never better than when complemented with port.
The great thing about oxtail is that it makes a perfect tapas portion when serving only one or two bones. Served with a delicate parsnip puree, this can be served as a main meal.
Slow-roasted pork belly with crisp crackling skin and meat that melts in your mouth has to be one of life’s little food gifts, but paired with fennel it is simply divine.
Baking slices of chorizo in red wine tenderises the chorizo and also gives them a lovely winey kick. The heady rich sauce is just gorgeous sopped up with a chunk of crusty gluten-free bread.
Cataplana is a traditional Portuguese pork stew with garlic, wine and clams, which is cooked in a special type of dish. Don’t fear, though. I think it works perfectly well in a good cast-iron pan with a lid.
This Spanish and much finer version of the classic liver with bacon and onions is enriched with sweet sherry, which makes it the most delicious way to serve calve's liver.
Crema catalana is a pudding that’s very similar to crème brûlée, but the custard base is not baked but thickened and set with a little cornflour. It has a great depth and warmth of flavour from the lemon and cinnamon.
Churros are sausage-shaped donuts that are meant for plunging in the thick chocolate sauce served with them. They're a tradition all day and are also eaten for breakfast.
The best lava cake recipe you will find. Serve with pistachio ice cream for a bit of Mediterranean flair.
This Indian-inspired rice pudding is so special you'll be licking the saucepan.
Natas, the famous Portuguese custard tarts, are one of the tastiest pastries on the planet. You can find them in bakeries and delis, but try making them yourself and wow your loved ones.
Turron is the Spanish version of halva. It sticks to your teeth when you eat it but crumbles when you handle it. More like a candy than a dessert, it's essential alongside a dark cup of coffee.
The buttery texture of lamb fillet that’s been spiked with red chilli, spices and garlic and complemented with the Greek yoghurt-based appetizer “tzatziki” makes for a scrumptious tapas.
The combination of pork, morcilla and apples is a pork lover's dream and a well-loved tapas dish, too. Iberico pork comes from the Spanish breed of black Iberian pig, whose unusual flavour is a result of the acorns in its diet. Good-quality pork loin will act as a more than adequate substitute, if pork tenderloin is unavailable.
Morcilla (Spanish blood sausage) is one of the best blood sausages on the market. The best variety is the rice-filled one. Pairing it with spicy peppers and quails' eggs is a very classic combination.
This unusual salad is made especially striking due to the quantity of strong but complementary flavours involved. Pickled walnuts, a treat often found at Christmastime, go perfectly with meaty duck and sweet beetroot.
This quick sticky stew is a hearty, rustic and homely dish that is really satisfying when you want something light but comforting. The grating of the orange rind at the end gives an interesting twist to the flavour.
Serrano ham or “mountain ham” is a typical dry-cured Spanish ham. This means it is generally served raw in thin slices, but when cooked it crisps up beautifully, creating a rich salty flavour that complements the chicken, zingy lemon and herbs.
This simple recipe, translated as “chicken fried with garlic”, is a staple on any traditional tapas menu. Do not allow the garlic to overcook and become too brown as the flavour will turn unpleasantly bitter.
If you have not used it before, do not be put off by the squid ink. It is a very familiar ingredient in coastal Mediterranean cooking, where it is prized for its subtle iron flavour.
This unusual dish of sweet scallops accompanied by the deep iron flavour of morcilla (Spanish blood sausage) and crisped sage leaves is quite spectacular.
Rosemary and oily fish are a marriage made in heaven! Make sure you get your fishmonger to butterfly the sardines, which means the centre bone is removed, leaving a boneless piece of fish. As a result, these lovely crisp little fishes can be served whole on rustic toast to be eaten with ease and pleasure.
This popular way of serving prawns in Spain should arrive at the table 'pil-pileando', which means the fragrant scarlet oil should be bubbling and spluttering as the dish is set down.
Fritto misto is a traditional tapas or appetizer comprised of a selection of deep-fried meats, fish and vegetables. This recipe is a combination of deep-fried calamari, whitebait and prawns, with a interesting crunch of courgette for good measure.
This is a Spanish favourite and they literally squish really ripe fresh tomatoes into the bread so it absorbs all the flavour.
Punchy and piquant, piquillo peppers are a regular feature in Portuguese cooking. These scarlet beauties are often found pickled or tinned, which makes them a fantastic item to keep in your pantry. When stuffing the peppers, handle them with the utmost care as the skins tear easily, which will ruin their ability to contain the salt cod mixture.
This crunchy dish is an exciting take on potato chips. Chorizo is an unusual sausage, as it turns deliciously crispy when fried. Just be sure to fry the potatoes first; otherwise, the oils and spices released by the chorizo will stain the potatoes red.
This is an elementary tapas dish, served with lashings of olive oil and salt in every good tapas bar. To the eye, these small smoky peppers all appear the same, but eating them is a game of gastronomic Russian roulette, as around one in every nine is fiery hot. So dive in with a cool drink in hand in case you happen to pick a feisty one.
Boquerones are tiny butterflied anchovies, in a very acidic marinade that serves to cure the fish as well as add flavour. This recipe can only be made with fresh fish, so the smallest sardines will do if anchovies are not available.
Marinating cheese might seem odd, but smooth manchego is complemented deliciously by the piquant cumin and peppers.
This is the absolute cornerstone of tapas, a simple but vital centrepiece. It can be easily presented on a wooden board (olive wood is wonderful) at the centre of the table to share.
Pedro Ximénez is a really thick, syrupy sweet sherry. Chicken livers are balanced perfectly by this sweetness and this finished dish is all pulled together by the crisp saltiness of the Iberico ham (dry-cured Spanish ham).
Harissa is a piquant spice mix particularly popular in Moroccan cooking. Rose harissa is a similar spice blend with the addition of rose petals, which gives it an appealing aromatic depth. These flavours work beautifully as a rub on any meat but give a particular interest to the subtlety of chicken.
Clams and Spanish chorizo make an exceptionally good combination. The smoky meatiness of the sausage brings an interesting dimension to the seafood. This is lovely served in a big tapas dish, with a few chunks of crusty bread to mop up the delicious spicy juices at the end.
It is important in this recipe that the pan is exceptionally hot so the squid is quickly cooked to tender perfection. Squid must always be cooked very fast over high heat or slowly over a long period, otherwise the result is a chewy, rubber-like disaster.
Simply translated, this is a pureé of broad beans, but the dish is so much more than that. Imagine sweet, sticky roasted garlic, pureéd with fresh rosemary, broad beans and olive oil and served hot with crusty bread to spread it on. Simply delicious!
Wild mushrooms sautéed with garlic and white wine and finished with truffle oil. Sounds good, but topped with crisply fried quail eggs, it is divine.
Pan-fried foie gras is fairly opulent, but for those who love it, it’s worth every penny. The sweet and boozy raisins make a wonderful pairing for the creamy foie. Enjoy.
The bitterness of chicory combined with toasted walnuts and sweet pomegranate gives this dish a delightful nutty-fruity Middle Eastern feel. The best way to extract pomegranate seeds from the fruit is to cut it in half and then hit the back with a spoon. The fresh red seeds will fly out to be collected and used.
Veal, sage and anchovies are a marriage made in heaven, so imagine this… Breaded veal escalope pan-fried and dressed with crispy sage and anchovy sandwiches and doused in lemon. Scrumptious!
Cordon bleu is a gastronomic term meaning of the highest class. Therefore, this moist chicken wrapped in ham with oozy cheese is just about as delicious as you can get. To make sure this recipe has a real Spanish flair, it uses the quintessentially Spanish ingredients of manchego cheese and Serrano ham.
Mackerel and horseradish are a match made in heaven, with the creaminess and heat balancing perfectly. Use a ready-made horseradish sauce if fresh horseradish is unavailable.
Grilled goat's cheese and figs on bread will not only become a favourite, but will also make a super lunchtime snack.
This is such an easy way to jazz up olives — the most familiar of tapas nibbles. Once marinated, the aromatic spices and herbs marry perfectly with the firm salty olives, creating an elegant little dish that will have you reaching for more.
These sweetbreads are magnificent coated in the sticky king of sherries — Pedro Ximénez — and veal jus. Eating sweetbreads when dining out is really trendy, but few realise quite how easy it is to cook them at home.
This tasty but light dish is made all the more special when drizzled with a little truffle oil. Celeriac brings an unusual freshness of flavour to the gratin, cutting through the richness of the cream.
Another under used cut of meat is the hanger steak, also known as butcher's steak, which is very lean and tender. It becomes a good wintry starter when paired with celeriac.
Skirt steak is a cut of steak taken from the side of the animal between sirloin and flank. It tends to be under used outside of France (where it’s known as bavette d’aloyau), which is a shame because it’s one of the most delicious beef cuts. Shallots and roasted bone marrow complement the meat, producing a modern tapas classic.
This classic dish is normally made using milk-fed baby lambs. Most butchered lambs are around a year of age and on a solid diet, making their meat darker and richer. Milk-fed lamb is therefore hard to find. This recipe calls for half a lamb shoulder, making it the perfect size to bring to the table and tear apart.
Slow-cooked pork ribs smothered in barbecue sauce and so well cooked they virtually fall off the bones. Need I say more?
It’s still the simplest of tapas that are the crowd-pleasers and grilled beef skewers dipped into a classic béarnaise sauce could please a stadium.
An Italian special is a good steak with a rich porcini cream, but cream sauces can get quite rich. That’s the great thing about eating tapas — the serving size means you can have a little bit of something decadent. It doesn’t get much more decadent than this.
This healthier take on roast lamb makes a scrumptious and piquant tapas. The fattiness of lamb is smoothed with the acidic pomegranate in the salad, glaze and gravy.
Normally to make a ballotine — a boned and rolled joint — is considered a little bit tricky. So get your butcher to do the hard work of boning the meat, leaving you the easy task of stuffing and rolling. The result is fantastic juicy meat with aromatic stuffing.
Lamb cutlets are a ready-made finger food, with their own holders making them a really fun addition to your tapas menu. This recipe shows off lamb at its best. Get a rack of lamb that's either middle neck, which is cheaper with more flavour but only five bones or the best end of neck, which is more delicate and more expensive, with eight bones.