Tag Archives: easy buffet recipes

Classic Tapas: Champiñones al ajillo (Mushrooms in Garlic)

22 Dec

I have such good memories of Old Madrid, fragmented yellow afternoon light poking into the bar from the narrow street outside; standing at a stainless steel bar focused on stabbing mushrooms with a toothpick as they swam in garlicky sauce in a red clay cazuela, the peasant poetry of light red wine poured into a homely, stemless glass with a thick bottom,  crusty rounds of bread crumbling under your elbows. Nothing better to do than spend the summer evening exploring more windy streets and more interesting little appetizers.

Whether you’re preparing a cozy tête à tête with something light to nibble on,  looking for a simple vegetable dish to round out your appetizers or accompany a meat, seeking something to serve with the aperitif at your next cocktail party, or just want something a bit more befitting your station than Cheese Doodles to nosh on while you watch T.V. with a glass of something, look to Spain, and specifically to the iconic tapas: Champiñones al ajillo or mushrooms in garlic sauce, Spanish-style. Continue reading


Party Snacks: Endives, Smoked Salmon, and Capers (Endivias con Salmón)

22 Nov

My parents usher in every holiday season with a Tapas & Tertulia evening for some of their closest, most worldly-wise, food-loving friends from a number of Spanish-speaking countries. Tapas are the little dishes that the Spanish nosh on while drinking small glasses of beer or wine. A tertulia is a convivial gathering – of intellect or music or literature or other sociable human tricks.This evening is one I always look forward to; the conversation is wide-ranging and stimulating, the laughter hearty and the appreciation of food is foremost.

I helped my folks by making some of the mainstays of the tapas/buffet table – tortilla española, tortilla Torcal (with chorizo and ham), yuca en escabeche.

While searching for something new for the cold course, I found this in Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain, by Penelope Casas, a hero of Spanish cuisine in America and a longtime inspiration around here. The endive makes a handy tray for the salmon, while salmon is made mild by the lemon dressing. One of my adaptations was to add capers, a natural for this combination, both as flavor and visual punctuation. Very pretty, very fresh, very handy, very, very fast and easy!

Please look at the photo and know that endive can mean any of several members of the Compositae family of chicories: escarole, chicory itself and radicchio, for example. Belgian endive (Chicorium intybus) is the one you want here. It looks like a tightly closed tulip; you cut off the bottom and take off the scoop-shaped petals, one by one.

Smoked Salmon and Endive Scoops (Endívias con salmón)

4 oz smoked salmon, sliced into strips

12 Belgian endive leaves, clean and unblemished

3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1.5-2 Tbs fresh lemon juice


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).

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