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Best Tapas Recipes

Best Tapas Recipes


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Tapas Shopping Tips

Stocking up on no-cook items like cheese, nuts, olives, crackers, and dips will cut down on prep time and help ensure you have enough food for any unexpected guests.

Tapas Cooking Tips

When preparing appetizers try to avoid repetition of similar foods and flavors - aim for variety in textures, colors, and cooking methods.


50 Spanish Tapas Recipes To Ignite Your Dinner Party

Add a bit of festive flavor to your dinner party with some starters that add a bit of spice to the mix. These 50 Spanish tapas recipes will ignite your dinner party and the tastebuds of all your guests. Check them out below!

1. Braised Chorizo

Martha Stewart starts off our tapas list with some classic, braised chorizo. It’s satisfy every palette at the dinner table.

2. Stuffed Fried Sardines

Okay, so sardines may not be everyone’s favorites but Food & Wine knows how to make them delicious. Check out this recipe after the jump.

3. Marinated Olives

Dance of Saucepans went with another classic, tapas recipe. Some marinated olives will definitely set off the dinner party with the right flavors

4. Tortilla Española

Everyone loves a good tortilla espanola! And over at Savvy Eats you’ll learn how to whip this up before dinnertime.

5. Apple & Manchego Crostinis

Red Online combines some apple and manchego cheese for this delicious bite. A little sweet and some savory will go along way with the guests and the family too.

6. Mushroom & Ham Croquettes

Uno de Dos gives us some delicious croquettes to try out. Stuffed with mushroom and ham, they’re quite the satisfying starter.

7. Flank Steak with Goat Cheese on Toast

It’s hard not to get excited about this tapas recipe. Delicate, flank steak atop some toast cheese and crispy toast, visit Steamy Kitchen for the details and the how-to.

8. Morrish Pork Skewers

Woman and Home went with skewers! These morrish pork kabobs are a real winner for someone that likes some kick.

9. Churro Bites with Chocolate

Maybe you want something a bit sweeter for your guests to dive into. Churro bites dipped in chocolate can be found over at Cooking Classy.

10. Chunky Bean Dip

Martha Stewart gave us some chunky, white bean dip to try out as well. Serve up with chips or grilled tortillas and naan.

11. Ham-Wrapped Seasonal Plums

Take some juicy plums and wrap them in ham! Delicious shows us how to whip these easy tapas up without any fuss.

12. Caprese Empanadas

These empanadas have been stuffed with all the goodness of a caprese salad. Mozzarella cheese, tomato and pesto on top everyone will want a bite. (via)

13. Spanish Shrimp

Start the dinner party off with some Spanish shrimp! Snag the recipe over at The Gourmet Gourmand.

14. Serrano Ham & Manchego Cheese Plate

Food Network made up a yummy ham and cheese plate that guests will want to quickly dive into. Serve it up with some wine on the side!

15. Spanish Tomato Bread

Salt & Wind makes an easy tomato bread that utilizes serrano ham and manchego cheese as well. Even the kiddos will like this one.

16. Creamy Spanish Lentils

Serving up a bowl of Spanish lentils could be a great way to warm bellies and start off dinner as well. Grab the recipe over at Pinch of Yum.

17. Asparagus with Cheese & Prosciutto

Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus seems like another satisfying treat too. Snag the details at I Cook Different.

18. Sautéed Chorizo with Red Wine

Red wine makes any recipe better. But paired with chorizo and you’ve got a bite that will knock everyone’s socks off. Peek at BBC Good Food.

19. Potato & Mozzarella Croquettes

Here’s another recipe for some delicious and indulgent croquets. Visit Food & Wine to learn about these potato and mozzarella concoctions.

20. Stuffed Mushrooms

Martha Stewart made some stuffed mushrooms that have a bit of a Spanish flair. These are easy tapas to whip up in the kitchen too!

21. Shrimp & Spanish Chorizo Bites

Shrimp and chorizo can make a really delicious combination too! Grab all of the details over at The Galley Gourmet.

22.Gazpacho Shooters with Cucumber Ribbons

ParTASTE made some gazpacho shooters topped with cucumber ribbons and we can’t help but think how perfectly these would start a party off! Visit now for the recipe.

23. Pan-Fried Spanish Cauliflower

With a bit of crunch and a lot of spice, these pan-fried cauliflowers can add something extra-special to tonight’s meal. Just a Little bit of Bacon shows us how to make them happen.

24. Fried Calamari

The Fork Bite fried up some calamari! Impress your guests with your knowledge of this fun appetizer.

25. Fried Herbed Almonds

Some fried, herbed almonds are an easy way to satisfy palettes before you plate the meal. Check out the directions at Martha Stewart.

26. Open-Faced Crab Empanadas

How do these open-faced crab empanadas look to you? If you find yourself drooling a bit, then you may want to visit Food & Wine now.

27. Smoked Paprika Almonds

Devour went with some smoked paprika almonds as their choice for a Spanish tapas recipe. Again, easy and satisfying for all kinds of taste buds.

28. Spanish Meatballs

Everyone loves a good meatball! And these Spanish-inspired bites are the perfect way to accent a dinner party or even serve up something different at your next BBQ! (via)

29. Oven-Roasted Patatas Bravas

Food and Journeys went with a classic Spanish recipe that we all love. These patatas bravas are a great accompaniment to any meal or to use as a starter.

30. Rolls with Serrano Ham & Fig Preserves

Again, we have serrano ham making a splash in a delicious recipe. Check out this yummy, savory and sweet, treat over at Sweet Paul Magazine.

31. Spanish Peppers

These pepper boats are delicious to eat but fun to make too! All you have to do is hop on over to the Kitchn and get started.

32. Spanish Beans with Tomatoes

Grab a scoop of these beans on your way to lunch or dinner. Perfect as a side dish as well or served with a great, crunchy roll, snag the recipe at Veggie Desserts.

33. Apple Cider-Glazed Chorizo

Eat Well 101 went with a chorizo bite as well. But this time it’s been glazed with some apple cider. That savory and sweet combination is one of our favorites!

34. Garlic & Chili Mushrooms

Toss your mushrooms in a bit of garlic and chili. Make your tapas have a kick and a bit with this flavorful recipe! (via)

35. Spanish Puffs

We spot some spinach inside these Spanish puffs! Grab the recipe for these flaky treats over at Bon Appetit.

36. Fried Padron Peppers

Honest Cooking fried up some padrone peppers! Have fun biting each and every one of them to find out if they are “hot” or “not!”

37. Flamenco Eggs

Some flamenco eggs could be a great tapas to serve up at brunch time. Just don’t forget the crunchy toast on the side. Recipe is at BBC Food.

38. Deep-Fried Anchovies

Who loves anchovies? Okay, so the list may not be that long but Happy Foods Tube fries them up in a way that makes them quite scrumptious.

39. Sautéed Eggplant with Honey

A Spicy Perspective goes with a lighter tapas recipe. Sautéed eggplant with a bit of honey, the kiddos may even like this one.

40. Chickpea Salad

Some lighter, chickpea salad – full of flavor – can be served at lunchtime or as an appetizer. Visit Daily Mail for the recipe.

41. Shrimp Tapas with Mango Shooters

Here’s a fun tapas recipe to try our hands at. We start off with mango shooters and finish off with some shrimp! Find the recipe at Eat Well 101.

42. Chorizo, Red Peppers & Manchego Tarts

A personal favorite on the list, these chorizo, red pepper and manchego tarts are delicious all the way around. Daily Mail has all the info behind these.

44. Paella

Paella is a dish we instantly think of when it comes to Spanish food. So, it’s only natural that we had a beautiful recipe, like this one from Mommy’s Home Cooking, on our list!

45. Ham & Peach Wraps

BBC Good Food wrapped some ripe peaches up in ham. And we’re drooling over how wonderful these little bites would be.

46. Spanish Mussels with Chorizo & Tomato-Wine Sauce

If you’re a seafood lover than you love this dish from The Comfort of Cooking. Serve it family style or as a treat to indulge in before the salad is plated.

47. Pinchos

The Woks of Life went with a classic pinchos recipe. Toasty bread bites topped with flavorful shrimp, it’s a fan favorite!

48. Spanish Chickpea Fritters

Veg Kitchen has a healthy, chickpea fritter recipe we’re loving. Just don’t forget something to dip them in!

49. Garlicky Shrimp with Olive Oil

Food & Wine utilized shrimp in their tapas recipe as well. Garlicky shrimp will satisfy lots of tummies too.

50. Croquettes with Ham & Manchego Cheese

Martha Stewart leaves us off with another croquette recipe that we’re loving. And this time they’re filled with ham and manchego cheese!


Tapas Recipes That Will Bring a Taste of Spain to Your Next Party

A colorful array of tapas are a delightful way to spark the appetite and the conversation. A drink without something to eat with it is just not very Spanish&mdashbut this tradition makes perfect sense for all of us a nibble during an after-work social hour is a way to take off the edge of hunger, and ease into the evening. In the cities of Spain, tapas, pinchos&mdashor pintxos as they are known in the Basque language&mdashcan be an expression of creativity. Indeed, all over the country, they are showcases for the best local foods, and can be as simple as a few slices of the local jamon which is proudly displayed on most Spanish bars.

Of all the culinary inventiveness and pride in local specialties, the trusty tortilla is a comforting mainstay: A dense potato omelette eaten at any time of day, a slice of tortilla Espanola is a culinary equivalent of a trusted friend. It is also a culinary heirloom, the recipe handed down through generations. Historically, tapas were free to bar customers who purchased a drink. To encourage this, highly seasoned dishes, pungent with paprika or garlic, and rich with olive oil or cheese were often served, foods that might make the customer thirsty for another drink. Tapas can be as simple as roasted almonds and salty green olives, or hot and crispy, like fried croquettes and savory meatballs. They are perfect accompaniments to a glass of Spanish wine or dry sherry, cider or beer.

Though all of this is particular to Spain, a tapas menu is easily customizable if we use the ingredients available to us and bring a Spanish flair for fun, an evening of tapas can be an invitation to play.


Vegetarian

Pan con Tomate (Spanish-Style Grilled Bread With Tomato)

If you want a break from all that fish, try this humble dish of toasted bread rubbed with garlic and topped with tomato. We grate the ripe beefsteak tomatoes on a box grater, which pulverizes the pulp and separates it from the skin. Cut the bread on the thicker side to support a generous helping of tomato.

Spanish-Style Blistered Padrón Peppers (Pimientos de Padrón)

Even easier than pan con tomate, this tapa is made with just Padrón peppers, oil, and coarse sea salt. We char the peppers in canola oil in a blisteringly hot skillet and finish with olive oil—we don't worry too much about the safety of searing in olive oil, but high heat gives the oil a strong flavor that would overpower the peppers.

Warm Spanish-Style Giant-Bean Salad With Smoked Paprika and Celery

Starting with high quality cooked beans, this salad takes only five minutes to prepare. We start by heating up tomato paste in a skillet with olive oil, paprika, garlic, and shallot, then add celery, sherry vinegar, olive oil, and the beans. Give the beans just a minute to warm through and you're ready to serve.

Tortilla Española (Spanish Egg and Potato Omelette)

Tortilla española is hearty enough for a full meal, but works equally well as a tapas snack. It's made by cooking potatoes and onions in lots of olive oil until the spuds are tender, then mixing them with eggs and cooking until the outside of the omelette is nicely browned. Don't cook it too long though—you're looking for a soft, creamy center.

Salt-and-Vinegar Spanish Tortilla With Quick Cheaty Allioli

Don't want to go to the trouble of cooking potatoes? Chef José Andrés taught us that you can make a quick, delicious tortilla española using potato chips instead. We use salt-and-vinegar chips here, but go with whatever you like. In the spirit of keeping the recipe fast, we serve the tortilla with a cheaty allioli made by mixing mayo with olive oil, minced garlic, and black pepper.

Patatas Bravas

Every tapas bar has its own version of patatas bravas. Many use a dark red sauce, but our recipe tops the cubed potatoes with allioli, smoked paprika, and scallions. Par-boiling the potatoes in vinegar-spiked water helps them get extra crispy when fried up in a skillet.

Mushroom and Crushed Egg Tapas (Tapas de Setas con Huevo)

When you're only using a couple of ingredients in a dish, you need to make sure that they are as good as possible. In this case that means springing for the fanciest mushrooms you can find and reaching for your best bottle of strong, grassy olive oil. The eggs don't need to be anything special, but make sure to cook them right.


3. Salmon Ahumado con Crema de Queso (Smoked Salmon Tapas)

Salmon Ahumado con crema de Queso (Smoked Salmon Tapas) is among the summer cold buffet ideas that can be whipped up in no time.

Get yourself some good-quality smoked salmon, french baguette and cream cheese.

Afterward, it is just a matter of cutting your smoked salmon and french bread and then serving them alongside other cold summer party food.

The saltiness and smokiness of the salmon goes well with the creaminess of your cheese. Lemon can be squeezed upon serving should you need something to cut through the strong flavor profile of this cold tapa.

It takes no more than five minutes to make Salmon Ahumado con Crema de Queso.

Read full recipe: SMOKED SALMON TAPAS


Tapas recipes

Enjoy a taste of Spain without ever having to leave your kitchen. Our mix & match tapas dishes are perfect finished with a refreshing glass (or jug!) of sangria.

Spanish tortilla

Make a classic Spanish omelette filled with pan-fried potatoes and onion. It makes a delicious light vegetarian meal or an easy tapas dish

Seafood paella

This impressive Spanish one pot, with monkfish, king prawns and mussels, is perfect for feeding a crowd at a dinner party

Goat’s cheese, fennel & roasted red pepper tart

Sweet caramelised vegetables and paprika cream top this lovely tart - cut into bite-sized pieces as part of a tapas spread

Stuffed cherry peppers

These low-fat, gluten-free canapés can be put together in just 10 minutes - perfect as a last-minute party nibble

Warm kale salad with almonds & Serrano ham

This modern take on coleslaw and cold cuts makes a delicious starter or light main, with shallots, celery, and a sweet and tangy dressing

Padron peppers

Serve these padron peppers as a side dish or starter in a Spanish feast. They're super-simple to make, requiring little prep and just five minutes of cooking


Extra tips

  • Put out a selection of wines. A red, white and rose, so that there is something for everyone to go with all the different dishes on offer.
  • Have a selection of breads out (including crusty bread, breadsticks and slices) with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a bowl for dipping.
  • Put some Spanish meats, roasted red peppers and cheeses on a board as a filler if you have lots of guests. It's always better to have too much food and have leftovers than not have enough. Why not include our Antipasto Platter?
  • Try to make as much as you can earlier on in the day or the night before. The olives can be made in advance and will keep in the fridge for a few days. The chicken skewers and meatballs can be made and kept in the fridge until they are ready to cook.
  • Tapas makes great leftovers. Slices of tortilla make for a great snack as you are passing the fridge. The olives can be used in other meals like pastas and salads and the cooked chicken skewers are delicious in wraps.

If you’ve tried any of these Easy Tapas Recipes please leave a comment below, we love hearing from you!
Tag us in your creations on Instagram @hungryhealthyhappy - we love sharing photos when people make our recipes. You can use the hashtag #hungryhealthyhappy too.


Where Does the Word Tapas Come From?

There are many debates about the origin of tapas. Depending on which part of Spain you are from, you may have differing opinions.

It is said that the first Tapas was simply a large piece of bread that was placed over top of a drink to keep the flies out. It is said, the word &ldquoTapas&rdquo was born from this experience.

Tapas serve as an amazing way to entertain and enjoy some delicious food. There are many recipes out there that can be used to create delicious tapas. Try your hand at this Spanish cuisine and enjoy.


Bring on the Noshing – 40 Amazing Tapas Party Recipes

Not sure what to serve at your next party?

I’ve got you covered with these amazing tapas party recipes, sure to make your job as host (or hostess) a breeze.

1. Catalan Bread

Spanish tapas doesn’t get any better than bread, tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. The recipe can be made up by your guests at a food station you set up just for this delicious morsel. Recipe: Spanish Catalan Bread

2. Marinated Olives, Mushrooms and Peppers

Whether you purchase them or make it homemade, a tapas party wouldn’t be the same without marinated olives, mushrooms and peppers. Check out this super recipe for a homemade version that’s light and flavorful: Marinated Olives.

3. Spiced Nuts and Seeds

It’s always great to nosh from a bowl set out just for your guests to self-serve themselves. Try flavorful nuts or seeds. You might want to include spiced walnuts, cashews, almonds, Spiced Macadamia Nuts or even Pumpkin Seeds.

4. Potato Skins

Take a tried but true recipe like twice baked potatoes and divide each potato into smaller portions. That’s the beauty of tapas–it’s not how large the portion but the mini bites you get to sample. Recipe: Stuffed Potato Skins

5. Potato Balls

The Spanish love potatoes and nowhere is this more evident than a take on french fries. These small morsels are perfect to dip in a variety of sauces. Just make sure you make enough for your guests to sample at lease a handful each. Recipe: French Fried Potato Balls

6. Empanadas

Empanadas are basically made with a meat filling encased in a crisp doughy crust. Some versions are baked, while others fried. Either way, they are smallish and definitely a favorite among tapas enthusiasts. Recipe: Tuna Empanadas

7. Beef Tartare

Don’t get turned off by the idea of eating raw beef. It has been done for centuries and with great success. The art and science behind eating tartare is using a high grade beef–think tenderloin. All the other ingredients that are classic tartare additions should also be the freshest and best you can purchase. Why? Because it isn’t often that you’ll get to sample this delicacy with such panache. Recipe: Restaurant-Quality Beef Tartare

8. Chicken Satay

One of my all time favorite tapas, you can’t go wrong with Chicken Satay. Both the preparation and grilling takes very little time. It’s best to offer several dipping sauces from creamy peanut to Asian ginger for your guests’ pleasure. Recipe: Chicken Satay

9. Stuffed Tomatoes

Tomatoes can be the perfect finger food when stuffed with a variety of fillings. From cold salads to cooked meat, you won’t believe how simple and easy it is to nosh in style. Recipe: Tomato Stuffed with Ground Beef

10. Hummus

Hummus is one of my go-to recipes for tapas parties. Why? It’s so economical and healthy at the same time. Hummus goes well with baked pitas, toasted bread and sliced vegetables. Recipe: Baba Ganoush – Hummus with Eggplant

Cookbooks to Whet Your Tapas Appetite

I provide 40 of the best recipes for tapas party recipes but you don’t have to stop there. Check out these amazing cookbooks that will continue to inspire your culinary appetite and feed your hungry friends and family.

11. Franks and Smokies

There’s something crazy good about matching cranberries and bacon. You get the best of both worlds, smoke and sweet-tart all in one bite. But when you add smokies (small franks), you get a tapas worthy of celebrating. Recipe: Cranberry Bacon Smokies

12. Caprese Salad

Tapas aren’t limited to the Spanish, the Italians have dibs on this one too. Take for example, Caprese Salad. You can skewer the ingredients on bamboo or let guests serve individual portions on small plates. Either way, it’s delicioso! Recipe: Classic Caprese Salad

13. Antipasti Plate

From fresh fruit to sliced sausages and cheese, these finger foods can be placed out and forgotten. Replace as necessary. Recipe: Cheese and Charcuterie Board

14. Tortilla Wraps

Wraps can be meal-size or snack-size, it’s all how you cut them. And, when filled with fresh vegetables and meat, you’ve got tapas aplenty. Recipe: Tortilla Filled with Fresh Vegetables and Smoked Salmon

15. Meatballs

Baked or fried meatballs can be made with ground beef, pork, turkey or chicken and eaten with bamboo skewers for individual portions. Start with this Recipe: Homemade Meatballs

16. Bruschetta

Toasted bread becomes a charmed tapas when spread with a dollop of fresh toppings. Recipe: Bruschetta with Tomato and Cucumber Salad

17. Lettuce Wraps and Endive

Endive like many lettuces becomes an winner when it comes to individual wraps and scoops when paired with a variety of fillings. Try red lentil salad with dill, turkey salad, or even Waldorf Salad.

18. Deep Fried Cheese Balls

Wisconsinites know good cheese, so when it comes to tapas, you can’t beat fried cheese balls for single servings.

19. Wieners in Puff Pastry

You could use crescent rolls but why when you can use puff pastry. It’s light and fluffy but filling. Recipe: Wieners in Puff Pastry

20. Meatballs Wrapped in Eggplant and Zucchini

Add a veggie touch to your party tapas with ribbons of eggplant or zucchini. They become the perfect foil with meatballs. Recipe: Turkish Meatballs

21. Fried Mushrooms

Nothing spells elegance than fried mushrooms. Rich and meaty, they can be eaten with bamboo skewers or appetizer forks. Recipe: Balsamic Pan Fried Mushrooms

22. Bruschetta with Pumpkin

Bruschetta is elevated to the sublime when using a pumpkin spread. Recipe: Bruschetta with Pumpkin and Feta

23. Potato Halves

Small spuds can become finger-friendly when baked to perfection. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and chives. Recipe: Baked Potato Halves

24. Pesto Spread

Pesto is one of the simplest recipes I know of that can be made ahead of time and then served at room temperature. Mix and match with a variety of nuts and cheeses. Recipe: Mixed Herb and Nut Pesto

25. Fruit Kebabs

Not all tapas have to be dinner fare, some tapas are meant to be a bit on the sweet side. Be sure to offer some finger desserts to your guests, too. Related: Balsamic Glazed Fruit Kebabs

26. Avocado Salad

Guacamole or avocado salad becomes a meal in itself with the addition of grilled shrimp. Recipe: Avocado Salad with Grilled Shrimp

27. Mixed Slices Sausage and Meat

Spanish tapas parties must offer some Jamón (Spanish Ham) and chorizo. Serve sliced for easy bites. Recipe: How to Choose Charcuterie

28. Brie

Perfect at room temperature, amazing when baked in pastry. Layer with fruit preserves and nuts. Serve with toasted bread or crackers. Recipe: Brie Wrapped in Puff Pastry

29. Fondantes

Fingerling potatoes become crunchy with a touch of saltiness, thanks to a two step baking process. As a tapas, you can’t eat just one. Recipe: Smashed Potatoes

30. Asparagus Tapas

Asparagus is delicious alone but when paired with bacon and rich pastry, it’s simply the easiest tapas to prepare ahead of time. Bake when ready. Recipe: Bacon-Crescent Asparagus Spirals

31. Shrimp Tapas

I love shrimp for its versatility. It’s easily made into ceviche or grilled kebabs. Recipe: Fried Marinated Shrimp

32. Salmon on Toast

Smoked fish, like salmon, is the perfect tapas appetizer. It’s both light and refreshing. Dress with light sour cream.

33. Lentil Salad

Beans and legumes get transformative when made for tapas. And, when made as a salad for light dining, it’s amazingly delicious. Serve on small plates. Recipe: Red Lentil Salad

34. Grilled Chicken

Warm and tasty, grilled meat will get great applause when marinated with rich spices. As a tapas, grill until done and serve with dipping sauce. Recipe: Chicken Tikka

35. Chips and Salsa

Simple and easy, you can’t beat chips and salsa for tapas. Best when used with warmed tortilla chips. Recipe: Lone Star Salsa

36. Vegetarian Crudités

Sometimes you have to take your tapas to a new level–vegetarian. That’s why using pattypan can be so eye-opening. It’s perfect like a bruschetta but healthy, as a veggie. Recipe: Roasted Pattypan with Basil and Tomatoes

37. Vegetables and Dip

Dips are the perfect tapas. From breadsticks, to vegetable sticks, it’s fun for guests to dip at will. Recipe: Creamy Dill Dip

38. Pizza Puffs

Light and airy, spicy and cheesy, pizza puffs bake up in no time at all. You can make the batter up beforehand and bake when needed. Recipe: Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

39. Chicken Nuggets

Chicken nuggets are the perfect finger food with a variety of sauces. Add this to your tapas menu for a delightfully simple appetizer. Recipe: Parmesan Chicken Nuggets

40. Hot Artichoke Dip

Artichokes become hot, hot, hot when made into a baked dip. As a tapas party recipe, it doesn’t get any easier. Use with toast, vegetables and baked pita chips. Recipe: Hot Artichoke Dip

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Best tapas recipes?

Hey, Iɽ like to try making Spanish style tapas and would love some ideas from someone with a little more experience. Willing to try out pretty much anything..

I was just in Galicia and their specialty is octopus. The common preparation was simple with just boiled octopus and potatoes tossed with some paprika and chile powder. Really simple and delicious.

The only problem would getting good fresh octopus. It's usually so tough. Here's a photo

I fell in love with pulpo in Galicia, and have worked to recreate it at home. Frozen, cleaned octopus works fine for me. My recipe is pretty simple:

Thaw octopus, bring large pot of salted water to a boil

Holding the top of the head, dip the octopus into the water a few times until the arms curl up and it begins to stiffen

Drop the whole thing in to boil for 1 - 1.5 hours or until fairly tender

Remove, let cool, then cut into bite sized chunks. Get a large skillet going with a hefty amount of chopped garlic, butter, and olive oil - saute octopus chunks for a few minutes - season however you prefer (pepper, salt, fresh herbs), then serve the whole thing on a big dish or cutting board with crusty bread of some sort. Sop up the butter/garlic/octopus juices and enjoy.

Actually, you can totally do it frozen octopus. Apparently freezing and thawing the beast makes it more tender.

YES. As a spaniard, this is one of my favourites. But don't listen to him! No chili powder, just paprika AND very important, a very nice olive oil.

I had something very similar at a tapas place in philly, but with sliced chorizo as well. I am already in love with pulpo, but this dish almost made me teary-eyed!

Do you know the reasoning for adding baking soda to the shrimp & oil? First time coming across that in a seafood recipe.

This is probably my favorite! I also like to make a modified pasta recipe variation with linguini that works super well.

Patatas Bravas (potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce)

Pescado blanco frito (whitefish deep-fried and with mayo)

Croquetas de Manchego (croquettes with manchego cheese)

Chorizo a la plancha (chorizo cooked on a flattop grill)

Costillas de cerdo (pork ribs in a barbeque sauce) -- at a restaurant I used to go to, this was my all-time favourite dish.

Churros and chocolate dip/sauce

One dish I can't remember the name of was a three-bean mix in a little oil and with a good amount of mint. A completely cold dish but tasted like itɽ be perfect on a hot day.

I have a whole book on tapas and tapas-style foods somewhere.

I am obsessed with an anchovy radish dish, which completely surprised me since those are two ingredients I was never super in love with. You slice up some nice crusty bread, then cut some radishes into bite sized chunks (let them sit in ice water to get them extra crunchy!) take a regular ol' tin of anchovies in oil and chop/blend it to a chunky paste and add parsley, lemon, and a little garlic. When you put the fishy mix onto the bread and the radishes on top, it all comes together in the most perfect bite.

*edited because my brain switches anchovies for sardines on a regular basis

So is it anchovies or sardines? They're not the same thing.

This is even better with white anchovies. Not as heavy fish flavor as canned but meatier and a little bit more tang. Good stuff!

Sounds really good. I want to try this with pickled radishes.

When I lived in Spain, my host family would make a fresh delicious tomato dish. Its just fresh sliced Kumato tomatoes and anchovies with a sprinkling of white vinegar, rich lovely olive oil and salt and pepper. Perfect summer snack.

Champiñones al ajillo. Or Berenjenas rebozadas.

First one is mushrooms cooked in olive oil and garlic. Delicious. Duh.

Second one is fried eggplant, which is awesome by itself and amazing when served with a cane sugar sauce (con miel de caña).

Currently living in Madrid. /u/SKRP lists the most common thing I've seen on a tapas menu - Albondigas. What you probably have in mind, OP is something elegant and complex in a small form. Most common tapas I see here are manchego cheese on bread, patatas bravas, chicken wings, tortilla espanola on bread, hot dogs or sausages in pisto, calamari, jamon iberico on bread, croquettas, paella.

By and large, they suck, though I had one really good dish at an Asturian restaurant. It was a sausage roll of chorizo criollo baked into a white flour roll and patatas cabrales which is a blue cheese style sauce, pretty good.

Authentic tapas are rather basic meals high in starch and fat, the higher-end tapas restaurants I've visited were variations on the same things from above with higher quality ingredients.

Tapas can be anything as long as it is small plates, go crazy, there aren't any must-try recipes for tapas that I have encountered.