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Tapas.

Tapas They're Spanish snacks. You can build a party of almost any size around them. Here's an expandable make-ahead menu to serve 6 to 2 dozen guests A meal of little snacks, Spanish tapas offer an appealing opportunity to sample from a wide variety of foods. As with Chinese dim sum, the spread can be modest or elaborate. To match your energy and party size, we present an expandable menu of make-ahead tapas for 6 to 24. Tapas have long been popular in Spain, where taverns offer them to fill the gap between lunch and very late dinner; sometimes they replace dinner entirely. It's a dining style that has caught on in our restaurants, often with twists that bear little resemblance to the tapas of Spain. Peruvian-born Felipe Rojas-Lombardi, a New York chef, specializes in creating tapas; we include some of his best here. Like the Spanish, he uses garlic, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar to season many of his dishes. You can select familiar foods, such as grilled shrimp, or more unusual choices, like snails and hominy.

Organizing the party Depending on the size of your group, you can serve tapas from a buffet or at small tables a few steps apart. This station concept works especially well with big groups, helping to ease traffic flow. As directed , you choose from knife-and-fork tapas (make-ahead dishes), tapas to grill (simply prepared meats and vegetables), tapas to go (ready-to-eat foods you buy), and drinks to go with tapas. As the party grows, rather than increasing the size of the recipe, increase the variety by adding more dishes from each category. If you serve at stations, have small plates and forks on each table. For easy cleanup, consider disposable supplies. Recipes follow for tapas to grill.

Tapas to grill Choose vegetables and sausage or shrimp. You can assemble foods that cook on skewers the day before, then cover and chill them. Arrange the hot coals in the barbecue to avoid flare-ups as you cook. Flare-free barbecue. Ignite 70 charcoal briquets on firegrate in a barbecue with a lid. Let burn until coals are covered with gray ash, about 30 minutes. Push coals up against 1 side of firegrate in an even layer; they should cover only 1/4 of the grate. Place grill 4 to 6 inches above coals. Lay food on grill over empty part of grate (not above coals). Cover barbecue, open drafts, and cook each food as directed. If you'll be cooking for more than 45 minutes, add 5 briquets to fire every 30 minutes to maintain temperature. Polish sausage. Thread 1 pound Polish sausage links or 3-inch sections of andouille sausage crosswise on a 12- to 16-inch metal or thin wooden skewer; space sausage slightly apart. Run another skewer through sausage, parallel to but slightly apart from the first, to hold meat flat. Barbecue as directed (preceding), until sausages are hot in center and lightly browned, about 4 minutes per side. Push off skewers; slice 1 inch thick. Per ounce: 92 cal.; 4 g protein; .46 g carbo.; 8 g fat; 20 mg chol.; 249 mg sodium. Shrimp. Allow at least 2 large shrimp (31 to 35 per lb.) for each person. Shell and devein shrimp. Thread shrimp crosswise through midsection on 12- to 16-inch metal or thin wooden skewers; space shrimp slightly apart. Run a second skewer through the shrimp, parallel to but slightly apart from the first, to hold them flat. Barbecue as directed (preceding) until shrimp turn bright pink, about 4 minutes a side; brush several times with garlic baste, following. Per shrimp: 32 cal.; 2 g protein; .18 g carbo.; 2 g fat; 17 mg chol.; 16 mg sodium. Garlic baste. Mix 2 tablespoons olive oil with 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed, for each type of vegetable and for every 6 servings of shrimp. Split leeks. Trim 6 slender leeks (about 1 lb. total), leaving about 3 inches green tops. Peel off tough outer layers. Trim ends of roots, but leave enough of the bottom so layers are attached. Split leeks in half lengthwise; rinse well. Barbecue as directed (preceding) until tops are limp and leeks are streaked light brown, about 5 minutes per side; brush several times with garlic baste, preceding. Per half leek: 30 cal.; .25 g protein; 2 g carbo.; 2 g fat; 0 mg chol.; 3 mg sodium. Multicolor bell pepper strips. Stem and seed 1 each large green, red, and yellow bell peppers. Cut lengthwise into 1 1/2-inch-wide strips. Thread a third of the strips (alternating colors) crosswise on a 12- to 16-inch metal or thin wooden skewer; space slightly apart. Run another skewer through pepper strips, parallel to but slightly apart from the first, to hold strips flat. Repeat to skewer remaining peppers. Barbecue as directed (preceding) until peppers are streaked light brown, 5 to 6 minutes per side; brush several times with garlic baste, preceding. Per strip: 12 cal.; .08 g protein; .5 g carbo.; 1 g fat; 0 mg chol.; .3 mg sodium. Mushrooms. Rinse and drain 1 pound mushrooms (about 1 1/2 in. caps); trim ends. Thread the mushrooms through stems and caps onto 3 slender metal or wooden skewers, each 12 to 16 inches long. Barbecue as directed (preceding) until mushrooms are streaked light brown, about 4 minutes per side; brush several times with garlic baste, preceding. Per mushroom: 18 cal.; .47 g protein; 1 g carbo.; 1 g fat; 0 mg chol.; .9 mg sodium. Plantains. Peel 3 large, very ripe plantains (with black skins) or green-ripe bananas; cut each in half lengthwise. Barbecue as directed (preceding) until plantains are browned and soft when pressed, about 5 minutes per side; brush several times with garlic baste, preceding. Per half plantain: 225 cal.; 2 g protein; 48 g carbo.; 5 g fat; 0 mg chol.; 6 mg sodium.

PHOTO : Scaled-down party for six

PHOTO : Served buffet-style, meal features (from top, clockwise): Spanish peanuts; fish and chard

PHOTO : pie*; eggplant with cilantro pesto*; fresh fruit; grilled leeks, sausage, andplantains*

PHOTO : (*recipes follow).

PHOTO : Guests circulate among stations for each type of tapas--dishes you make ahead (rear),

PHOTO : foods to grill and to nibble (center), and assorted beverages

PHOTO : Knife-and-fork tapas

PHOTO : Colorful salads of mussels, pasta with cilantro sauce, and beets with oranges are

PHOTO : make-ahead choices to serve with grilled foods (on plate)

PHOTO : Tapas to grill

PHOTO : Host barbecues skewered sausages, bell peppers, shrimp, and leeks over indirect heat

PHOTO : (using banked coals in a covered barbecue) to prevent flare-ups

PHOTO : Tapas to go

PHOTO : Store-bought, ready-to-eat foods include seasonal fruit, black olives, bread, and mild

PHOTO : goat cheese. For larger groups, add more choices

PHOTO : To drink with tapas

PHOTO : Which sherry to choose? Try dry to slightly sweet, austere to full-bodied. Other

PHOTO : beverages: white or red wine, sparkling water
COPYRIGHT 1988 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes; Spanish snacks
Publication:Sunset
Date:Jun 1, 1988
Words:1142
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