Due to popular demand the next Shropshire Secret Supper Club will be a seasonally apt Tapas evening. Even if the weather should not give us a balmy summer’s evening I assure you of a Spanish holiday treat. We will cater for seafood lover, seafood haters, meat lovers as well as vegetarians. People enjoyed our ‘all on the table’ approach for the Vietnamese Supper Club, so we will forgo the usual 4 course concept somewhat.
Tapas can be practically anything from a chunk of tuna, cocktail onion and an olive skewered on a long toothpick, to piping hot meat with sauce served in a miniature clay dish – or anything in between. Tapas are served day in and day out in every bar and café in Spain. So much a part of the culture and social scene that the Spanish people invented the verb tapear which means to go and eat tapas!
The Origin of Tapas
There are several stories about the origin of tapas, which are a part of the folklore:
It is told that a Spanish King known as el Sabio or the Wise One made sure that Castilian taverns served wine accompanied by something to eat, so that the wine would not go straight to his soldier’s head.
Another story goes that the original tapas were the slices of bread or meat which sherry drinkers in Andalusian taverns used to cover their glasses between sips. This was a practical measure meant to prevent flies from getting into the glasses of wine or sherry. The meat used to cover the sherry was normally ham or chorizo, which are both very salty and activate thirst. Because of this, bartenders and restaurant owners began creating a variety of snacks to serve with sherry, thus increasing their alcohol sales. The tapas eventually became as important as the sherry.
Nowadays tapas have evolved into a favourite snack or complete meals worldwide, no longer a prerogative of Spain.
Most importantly it has always been a very sociable activity to meet fellow drinkers at Spanish tapas bars or fellow foodies around KerstinsKitchen’s dining table.
Our welcome drink and amuse bouche will be a truly Spanish ice cold fino, a very light and dry sherry variety which is great to be served with a little topper / tapas.
The starter and main meal will be a veritable feast of warm & cold tapas to please every taste. Here is tantalising glimpse of what could be on the menu of a top ten tapas list:
Jamon serrano, mountain-cured ham: salted, wind-dried ham, given lengthy cellaring to develop color, texture and flavor. The reward for careful husbandry: ruby-red semi-translucent slivers of meat with a nutty flavor, delicate fragrance and an exquisitely buttery feel in the mouth. The best is jamon de pata negra, jamon de bellota, or jamon iberico, all terms for ham from acorn-fed black pigs of the semi-wild Iberico breed. Always served at room temperate, and eaten with your fingers – metal does the delicate flesh no favours.
Gambas al ajillo: fresh shrimps cooked in olive oil with garlic and chili in a cazuela, a small, shallow earthenware casserole; the shrimps are cooked as briefly as possible and served sizzling hot with a little wooden fork so you don’t burn your tongue. A luxury tapa, a speciality of big cities – Barcelona, Seville, Madrid – where people can afford it, though you’ll also find the dish in shrimp-fishing ports. Also known as gambas pil-pil, a reference to the bubbling noise the shrimps make as the oil heats up.
Albondigas en salsa: savory little pork and beef meatballs, braised in a sauce that could be based on gently spiced tomatoes, or parsley, or fragrant saffron and almonds.
Higados de pollo al vino de Jerez: Chicken livers braised in sherry, a combination that seems divinely ordained.
Pinchitos moruños (Moorish kebabs): Little meat cubes (usually pork) marinated in oil, garlic, and spices–cumin, coriander, sometimes turmeric and chili-threaded on skewers and grilled. A speciality of ferias in Andalusia, when the pinchito-seller, resplendant in scarlet fez, cooks his wares to order over a little charcoal brazier.
There will back a return to British dining tradition in as far as there be a proper pudding served after.
To finish the meal we will be serving excellent coffee and a homemade sweet or chocolate.
For further details and bookings please check out my events on ‘Find a Supper Club’