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On the tapas trail in Torrevieja

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April 25, 2013 / Spanish / By
Lynne Fellows

Twenty years ago the village of Torrevieja on the east coast of Spain was a small fishing port, today it is home to a vast population of over 180 nationalities. However it has not lost any of its Spanish charm. There is still evidence of the fishing industry along the coast, but tourism has become very important to the area, in summer the population more than doubles with visitors from Northern Europe as well as the Madrileños (many people from Madrid travel to the area in August as they have second homes on this beautiful coast).

 

The seafront is always busy with families strolling up and down the promenade or dining at the many small cafés and restaurants with their unspoiled views of the Mediterranean, their menus offer everything from full 'A la carte' menus to scrumptious tapas and mouthwatering icecreams. Even the word ‘tapas’ sounds like fun; they are little treats that you snack on whilst having a beer or glass of wine. They can be as simple as a plate of olives, a wafer thin slice of Ibérico ham or Manchego cheese, but the greatest joy about tapas is that they vary from town to town.  

There are many explanations as to how ‘tapas’ originated, my favorite is the story about the travelers who were drinking in a bar, it was a hot sunny day, as is the norm in Spain, and flies were buzzing annoyingly around their drinks. To keep the flies from falling in their beer or wine, the proprietor placed a slice of ham over the glass as a lid or cover, and from there the ‘tapa’ was born. It does actually mean a lid or covering, so it seems logical to believe this story, and I can certainly vouch for the flies too in summer! The tapas trail in Torrevieja is a regular event now, generally spread over a week and all of the tapas bars in the area offer a deal whereby you can enjoy a drink and a tapa at their bars at a discounted price. You get a ‘membership’ card which is then stamped at each venue and which entitles you to the special rates. It’s a pretty cool idea and a great way to try out new dishes. 

One of the easiest and most popular tapas dish is 'Patatas bravas', cubed potato pieces in a spicy tomato sauce. 

To make approx 10 servings you will need:

3 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

227g can chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp tomato purée

2 tsp sweet paprika (pimentón dulce)

A good pinch of chili powder

A pinch of sugar

Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish

900g potatoes

2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Prepare ahead by heating the oil in a pan, add the onion and fry for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato purée, paprika, chili powder, sugar and salt and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer for 10 minutes and put aside till needed.

Cut the potatoes into small cubes and pat dry with kitchen paper. Spread over a roasting tin and toss in the oil, then season. Roast for 40-50 minutes, until the potatoes are crisp and golden.

Tip the potatoes into dishes and spoon over the reheated sauce. Sprinkle with the parsley. Serve with cocktail sticks. Enjoy with other dishes or just as a snack. 

Loads more tapas recipes and other Spanish dishes can be found in 'Let's Feast - A Spanish Cookbook', available shortly.

 


N/A

Country: Spain

Province/State: Valenciana

City: Torrevieja

Address: N/A

Zip/Post Code: N/A

Location Tips: N/A

Phone: N/A

Website:N/A

Price Guide:$$ (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

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