Take your dinner guests on a holiday! It’s not hard to pretend you’re in sun-drenched Spain when you’re grazing on tapas and nibbling rich and tasty paella right out of the pan.
Two quick dishes kick things off – these are both fork-and-plate appetizers, but not so fiddly they can’t be eaten while standing, mingling, or balanced on a knee.
#1 Mackerel Salad Tapa, Double recipe
#2 Quail Breast & Chorizo Paella
#3 Quail Eggs with Roasted Peppers & Olives
#4 A simple green salad with jam dressing
Prepare the day before:
- Boil the quail eggs for #3, plunge them into cold water, and peel them. Cover the whole peeled eggs with fresh water and keep in the fridge; they’ll stay in great shape til tomorrow.
- If you’re roasting your own red peppers for #3 (instead of using a jar of piquillos), roast and peel them today, and keep them in the fridge.
- Caramelize the onions for the paella now, and small dice your sofrito (leek, celery & chorizo).
- Whip up the salad dressing now, so it’s ready to shake and serve.
Before the party starts:
- If your Marcona almonds are raw, fry them up in a bit of olive oil, drain and then salt them right away. Keep them on a paper towel at room temperature.
- The salad for appetizer #4 can be prepped in advance and held in the fridge. We plated up individual portions in our recipe, but it’s also lovely (and even easier) served family style.
- Salad greens can be washed, dried, and held in their salad bowl in the fridge, ready to go.
- With the ingredients for both appetizers already prepared, they’ll come together in a snap.
- Give your salad greens a quick fluff and dress them very lightly right before serving.
- Cooking the paella will be the festive and social center of the party!
12” Paella Pan
Meats & Dairy:
10 Boneless Quail Breasts
2oz Spanish dry-cured Chorizo
1 dozen Quail Eggs
1 bunch Celery
1 small Leek
1 bunch flat-leaf Parsley
1 bunch Lemon Thyme (or substitute regular Thyme & Lemon Zest)
1 Yellow Onion
1 box Valencian Paella Base
1 tbsp Sherry Vinegar
Bomba Valencia Rice (1½ cups)
Black Garlic, 3 cloves
2 tins Jose Gourmet Small Mackerel in Olive Oil
¼ cup Marcona Almonds
1 jar Piquillo Peppers (or 2 Red Peppers to roast)
1 handful Picholine Olives
Spicy Pimenton (smoked Paprika)
Sweet Pimenton (smoked Paprika)
½ tsp Saffron Threads
A bit of the Mustard & Vinegar you have on hand
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Alder Smoked Salt
Salt & Pepper
We recommend kicking off the evening with a white wine, and an Albariño or a Sparkling Chenin Blanc would be a lovely pairing with the bright flavors of these appetizers.
For the main event, switch gears to a Spanish Grenache that will complement the richer flavors of the paella.