Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tapas Party

Although we’d planned on having smoked ribs today, the weather didn’t cooperate, so we had a tapas party for two, instead.

The best thing about a tapas party is that when you say “tapas,” it sounds a lot like “topless.” Needless to say, the hubby was very excited.

Of the four dishes I made, three of them – the chicken, shrimp, and chorizo – are Rachael Ray recipes or were based on them. And I just threw the potatoes together. Because deep down we’re good, Midwestern, meat-and-potatoes folk. Which is also why we ate this with crusty bread. (I was raised to eat with bread in one hand and a fork in the other.)

I loved all the dishes, except the shrimp, because I don’t eat shrimp. My shrimp-loving hubby, who excels as a recipe troubleshooter, says he would recommend grilling the shrimp before tossing them into the infused oil. Duly noted. In spite of this, he ate all the shrimp, while suffering only minor injuries.*

*Surgeon General’s warning: Squirting hot red pepper oil into your eye while biting into shrimp may cause temporary blindness.

Chorizo Tapas
Serves 2-3

A drop of olive oil
2 links (about 6-8 oz.) smoked chorizo, sliced on an angle in ½” slices
A few splashes Rioja wine

1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until pan smokes.

2. Add chorizo slices and brown for about a minute on each side.

3. Add a few splashes of Rioja to the pan, and shake pan until wine is mostly evaporated.

4. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving dish.

Piquillo Potatoes
Serves 2-3

2 medium red potatoes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ medium red onion, chopped
1 roasted piquillo pepper*, chopped
½ tsp. hot pimenton
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh parsley, minced, for garnish

*Piquillo peppers are Spanish peppers. They’re available roasted and jarred. You can substitute roasted red peppers.

1. Scrub the potatoes and poke them with a fork. Microwave them about 5-6 minutes, or until tender. (You can also boil them; I didn’t have enough burners). Cut the potatoes in bite-sized chunks.

2. Heat oil in a heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute 2-3 minutes, or until it starts to brown. Add piquillo pepper and saute 1 minute.

3. Add potatoes to pan. Sprinkle with pimento, salt, and pepper, and saute 2-3 minutes.

4. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Herbed Chicken Tapas
Serves 2-3

1 whole boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in bite-sized pieces
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
1 stem fresh rosemary, leaves striped and minced
¾ tsp. dried thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ c. chicken broth

1. Toss chicken with oil, lemon juice, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Let sit about 10 minutes.

2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan, reserving marinade. Cook 6-7 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Remove chicken from pan.

3. Add chicken broth to reserved marinade. Pour marinade mixture to pan, and scrape any loose bits from the pan into it. Pour over chicken in serving dish.

Shrimp Pil-Pil
Serves 2-3

½ lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on (can uses frozen, if thawed)
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ c. olive oil
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp. sweet smoked paprika
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced

1. If desired, grilled shrimp beforehand, seasoning with salt and pepper.

2. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, crushed red pepper, and paprika. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

3. Add shrimp to pan, seasoning with salt and pepper if not previously grilled. Cook about 1-2 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Transfer to serving dish.

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