A lovely friend from Spain, M., who has been living here for over twenty years on account of being married to an Italian as well as working for the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, invited us to dinner last Saturday and the chat got around to talking about Spanish food, in particular the food of northern Spain and S. Sebastian and what have you. I can’t wait to go, is all I can say — it all sounds mouth wateringly amazing!
And said friend M. explained to us that the word “tapas” derives from the Spanish word for the large lid of cooking pans called ‘tapaderas’ (please forgive me if the spelling is wrong, that’s what it sounded like). She said that every household would have leftovers from the previous day, and whilst cooking the dinner for that particular night, a cook/mother would warm up the leftovers, usually very small quantities, on top of the cooking lids, the tapaderas. In northern Spain, tapas are instead called Pinxos, because tooth picks are used to eat them.
Well … we don’t have tapas or pinxos in Italy, even though all kinds of nibbles and scores of cheeses and cured meats and vegetables continue to dress the antipasti course to this day. Whatever. Last night, I felt in a ‘tapas’ mood, Italian style … and so looked to the tri-colour of the Italian flag for inspiration: red, white and green. And here is the result.
Fun, fun, fun. Artichokes, cut into quarters and cooked in water and olive oil, and cherry tomatoes cut in half and roasted in the oven with herbs as well as salt and pepper and olive oil, and last … rings of calamari (squid), dusted in flour and fried in olive oil. Salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon …
Buon appetito and here is raising a glass to the Tapas tradition, Italian style! The photos may not be perfect … but the atmosphere, and the nibbles, were!