The season of entertaining is upon us. Thanksgiving and the winter holidays mean we’ll likely be hosting large crowds and worrying over whether or not the turkey is dry. Why not ease your way into holiday entertaining with a tapas party?
Tapas – bite-size portions similar to appetizers – are ideal for easy entertaining. You don’t need to worry about setting the table either: guests can simply use a small plate or even a napkin to hold these delightful little morsels.
With an eye toward local ingredients that are also in season, we’ve outlined a sample menu for an intimate tapas get-together.
Tapas originate from Spain, so the use of Spanish flavors and techniques helps create an authentic experience for your guests. Skewer small bites of chorizo and manchego cheese on a toothpick for a no-cook snack – both ingredients have Spanish origins.
Spicy lamb meatballs in tomato sauce are a warming, comforting choice as well. Crescent City Farmers Market offers lamb on Tuesdays and Saturdays, as well as several choices for tomatoes, including heirloom and hydroponic varieties.
While you’re at the Crescent City Farmers Market, head to Pete & Clara’s Seafood and L’Hoste Family Farms to create a local version of sizzled citrus shrimp. Though the recipe calls for lemon juice, we suggest using organic satsumas instead. These incredibly juicy, easy-to-peel fruits will lend a sweetness and floral quality to the dish along with citrusy flavor.
Leek and mushroom croquettes add a vegetarian option for guests. Cap’s Flower and Vegetable Farm at the Crescent City Farmers Market offers fresh leeks – wash them thoroughly as this onion-flavored vegetable tends to hold on to dirt.
Bite-size dessert portions can satisfy a sweet tooth without wrecking diets. For a seasonal nod to beignets, we suggest pumpkin fritters. The recipe calls for homemade caramel sauce, but simple toppers like powdered sugar, cinnamon-sugar, or even apple sauce are equally tasty pairings.
Elegant and deceptively simple, two-ingredient white chocolate mousse is another tapas choice when served in mini, edible dessert cups. Top each one with a mint leaf for a pretty finish.