Tapas are little appetizers eaten in Spain. This tradition may have originated in the Jerez area of southern Spain known for making Sherry. Bar patrons were given a piece of bread to cover or "tapar" the wine glass. Years ago, I imagine that little bugs and other critters loved to hang out in dark taverns. Later meats, cheese, and other ingredients were added to the bread and tapas were born. Today in bars in Spain, many tapas are included in the price of the cover charge or minimum drink purchase. Some of the best tapas I've had were in Sevilla.
Isabella's is one of my favorite restaurants for tapas and Spanish food. The girls also really enjoy eating there and we always order a few tapas to share. You can't go to Isabella's without ordering asparagus fries. While this is certainly not a traditional item for tapas, it is SO good.
The restaurant also offers cooking classes. I've taken a few classes and have learned some great recipes. Here's a delicious recipe for Gambas al Ajillo, garlic shrimp. It is delicious when served with saffron rice.
• 12-15 shrimp, 25 count to a pound
• 1tbsp garlic, finely minced
• 1 tsp sweet Spanish paprika
• 1 tsp red pepper flakes
• 1/4 cup virgin olive oil
• 3 tsp chopped fresh parsley
• Rice to accompany the shrimp
In a sauté pan or heavy frying pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for about one minute or until they begin to brown. Raise the heat to high and add the shrimp and paprika. Stir well, then sauté, stirring briskly until the shrimp turn pink and curl – about 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and transfer shrimp with oil and sauce to a warm plate. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle with parsley.
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