Last month, I started a new feature called Let’s Talk About Tapas, when I gave you a general overview of what to expect if you want to eat tapas in Spain.
Each month I will be telling you about different tapas, and often I will include a recipe so you can make them at home for yourself.
So, what are tapas and how did they originate?
Well, it’s thought that originally in the wine-making regions of Andalucía, a cover in the form of a small plate or lid was placed over glasses of wine to keep fruit flies away. Titbits of food were later placed on the lid to be eaten with the wine. Remember too, that the word “tapar” in Spanish means “to cover”, which is where we get the word “tapas” from.
Let’s get started with one of my favourite tapas – Boquerones en vinagre (anchovies in vinegar).
You can buy boquerones from fish merchants or any supermarket with a fish counter such as Mercadona, where a kilo costs around €3.
They are not very difficult to prepare and are absolutely delicious! When we first arrived to live in Spain and rented a house for the first twelve months in Frigiliana, my Spanish next door neighbour showed me how she prepared them.
First you need to head and gut the fish. Do this by holding each fish using two hands – with the tail in one hand and the head in the other. Squeeze behind the head and pull it off. Split open the fish with your fingers and take out the guts, backbone and pull off tail.
Rinse in cold water until the water runs clear and place the filleted fish white-side up into dish.
Sprinkle with salt and cover with white wine vinegar. Depending on how many fish you have, you can arrange them into layers – making sure you perform this same task with each layer. The top layer of fish needs to be covered with vinegar.
The boquerones will start to turn white almost immediately as they “cook” in the vinegar.
I usually cover the dish with clingfilm and pop it into the fridge overnight to marinade.
Next morning, drain the salty vinegar away and cover the boquerones with extra-virgin olive oil, lots of chopped garlic and a little freshly chopped parsley – and by lunchtime they will be ready to eat with freshly baked bread.
Eat your boquerones with a glass of chilled white wine or manzanilla (dry fino sherry).
What are your favourite tapas?
Whilst you’re here, you might also enjoy: