Three Easy and Elegant Tapas for Your Holiday Table

15 Dec

Whether you have planned your holiday party carefully, with a guest list and RSVPs duly recorded, or you get a sudden knock on the door from friends who just happened to be in the neighborhood (and if you are Puerto Rican, this happens fairly often and at Christmas this phenomenon called un asalto navideño), you need a couple of easily assembled appetizers that will either fill in the cocktail hour or feed the unexpected arrivals without making you sweat.

The following three tapas (small dishes of Spain) can be counted on to save the day. These are the kind of items that I usually have around the house during the holiday season, but we bought them special for my parents’ annual Christmas buffet for some of their dearest friends recently.

So easy, a kid can do it. And the kids should do it while you are busy preparing for your guests

So easy, a kid can do it. And the kids should do it while you are busy preparing for your guests

They lend themselves to substitution: crackers can replace the endive or toasted bread; canned tuna or salmon can be swirled with mayonnaise and a dab of mustard and ketchup to replace the smoked salmon; hot dogs or any quickly cooked or dry sausage can replace the chorizo, as can pepperoni.

This is an example of the Caribbean white cheese in this recipe. It is similar to packaged (not fresh) mozzarella in texture and is easily cut into squares.

This is an example of the Caribbean white cheese in this recipe. It is similar to packaged (not fresh) mozzarella in texture and is easily cut into squares. QUESO FRESCO is NOT what you want. That is more like ricotta.

Don’t fret over entertaining; play with these tapas recipes, add a bowl of olives and sit down to chat with your guests!

Each recipe should provide appetizers for four. Together, you’ll easily satisfy twelve for appetizers or cocktail snacks.

Chorizo on toast

Chorizo on toast

Chorizo on toast

4-6 oz. spicy cured Spanish-style chorizo sausage (hot, dry Italian is the most similar) peeled and sliced diagonally to 1/4 inch

1/2 loaf crunchy thin baguette, sliced into thin rounds

Optional – thin sliced Manchego cheese (dry sheep’s cheese from Spain)

toothpicks

Heat oven to 350°F. Cover two baking sheets with aluminum foil. On one, lay the chorizo in a single layer. On the other, lay the bread in a single layer. Place both in the oven for 5 -10 minutes, until both are warm but not browning. On a tray, place toasted bread, top each with a single slice of chorizo, top with optional Manchego, spear with toothpicks and serve.

Smoked salmon with endive. A natural scoop!

Smoked salmon with endive. A natural scoop!

Smoked Salmon and Endive Scoops (Endívias con salmón)

4 oz smoked salmon, sliced into strips

1 Tbs minced white onion (optional)

12 Belgian endive leaves, clean and unblemished

3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1.5-2 Tbs fresh lemon juice

Salt

Freshly ground pepper (white, if you’ve got)

Approximately 50 small capers, drained

Lay a piece of salmon on each of the endive leaves. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and pour over the filled endive leaves. Scatter capers over each scoop (3-4 per scoop). Serve immediately or keep chilled (for no more than an hour as they can start to dry out).

The Little Chef and his work

The Little Chef and his work

White Cheese and Grape Cocktail Skewers

Ingredients:

16 oz block of Queso Blanco (Latin white cheese, firm. It is available at Latin grocery stores, but my Costco also sells it in economy size bricks)

bunch seedless red grapes (the firmer the better)

toothpicks

Cut cheese into 1/2 inch square blocks. Skewer each block with a red grape. Arrange artfully on a tray. Enjoy the expressions of startled pleasure on faces.

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7 Responses to “Three Easy and Elegant Tapas for Your Holiday Table”

  1. Susan at Savvy Single Suppers December 16, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    I am such a klutz with appetizers. Can’t stand a lot of fussing in my cooking. But these look tasty and so easy I could swing them without losing my cool. Thanks Natallia. And Feliz Navidad from Ottawa, Canada.

  2. Mad Dog December 16, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    Ha ha – I thought Christmas assault was what happened to drunks on Christmas Eve in Central Park!
    I did some similar things at a Christmas part last night – i wish I’d seen you chorizo on toast beforehand, that would have gone down very well 🙂

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy December 17, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

      It’s never too late to have some on chorizo on toast just for your very own self!

      • Mad Dog December 17, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

        True and I always have some handy in the fridge, though I’m not sure I’ll do that with the bellota 😉

  3. twbarritt December 16, 2012 at 6:13 am #

    I love the grape cocktail skewers! So pretty!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Classic Tapas: Champiñones al ajillo (Mushrooms in Garlic) « Hot, Cheap & Easy - December 22, 2012

    […] Three Holiday Tapas (super-simple! includes chorizo, smoked salmon, and fruit with cheese) […]

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