I made a Spanish themed dinner for a special friend this weekend. For the main course I made a paella recipe that I found online by vegan chef Tal Ronnen. It turned out alright, although I would reduce the amount of water/stock added from four cups to three, otherwise it will be less like paella and more like risotto. The toppings were really yummy: seitan 'chorizo' (homemade!), wine braised artichoke hearts and nori-dusted oyster mushrooms that taste a lot like seafood! Here's the paella recipe if ya wanna give it a try!
Before I served the paella I made a few Spanish tapas: Garlic-Stuffed Olives with Lemon and Basil, Spanish Spiced Almonds and Pan con Tomate.
Garlic-Stuffed Olives Marinated in Lemon and Basil
Head to the bulk olives at your friendly neighborhood grocery store and get a bunch of jumbo green olives stuffed with garlic cloves. Take them home and marinate them for at least an hour in the juice and zest of one lemon, 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil and 1 tbsp olive oil.
Spanish Spiced Almonds
Toast one cup of almonds in a pan (carefully!). Once toasted sprinkle them with 1 tsp smoked paprika, lots of fresh ground pepper and a sprinkle of salt. Turn off the element and add 1 tbsp of sugar stirring the almonds quickly to coat them in the sugar and spices. The sugar should melt into a candy-like coating. Let the almonds cool on a greased plate of cookie sheet before serving.
Pan con Tomate
This is just a fancy way of saying Tomato Toast, people. Toast some rustic bread slices under the broiler then rub each slice with a garlic clove that has been cut in half. Smush a ripe tomato chunk on each slice. Drizzle with good olive oil and sprinkle with S&P. Best when you use TOP NOTCH tomatoes!
Other ideas for vegan tapas:
Banderillas: pickled veg tidbits on skewers
Vegan 'chorizo' and apples braised in wine
Patatas Bravas: fried potato chunks with 'bravas sauce' (a spicy tomato sauce) or vegan aioli
Empinadas: little turnovers filled with spicy vegan 'beef' or veg
Bean Croquettes with Romesco Sauce
Mushrooms sauteed with sherry
LOTS of Spanish vino :)
Tapas make for a really easy cocktail party since most of the dishes require assembly rather than a lot of cooking. They would definitely add sassy Spanish flare to any holiday party you might be throwing in the next month ;)