Search: Advanced | Preference
Traveling Boy means the travel adventures of the Traveiling Boitanos
Travel adventures of Eric Anderson Boitano
Travel adventures of John Clayton
Travel adventures of Deb Roskamp
Travel adventures of Fyllis Hockman
Travel adventures of Brom Wikstrom
Travel adventures of Jim Friend
Travel adventures of Timothy Mattox
Travel adventures of Corinna Lothar
Travel adventures of Roger Fallihee
Travel adventures of Tamara Lelie
Travel adventures of Beverly Cohn
Travel adventures of Raoul Pascual
Travel adventures of Ringo Boitano
Travel adventures of Herb Chase
Travel adventures of Terry Cassel
Travel adventures of Dette Pascual
Travel adventures of Gary Singh
Travel adventures of John Blanchette
Travel adventures of Tom Weber
Travel adventures of James Thomas
Travel adventures of Richard Carroll
Travel adventures of Richard Frisbie
Travel adventures of Masada Siegel
Travel adventures of Greg Aragon
Travel adventures of Skip Kaltenheuser
Travel adventures of Ruth J. Katz
Travel adventures of Traveling Boy's guest contributors

Colorado ad

About Richard   write me    Feeds provide updated website content        

elaborate tapas on display
Many elaborate tapas on display

Tapas Master Class for World
Tapas Day

Story and photographs by Richard Frisbie

first met Toño Pérez (of Atrio Restaurante in Cáceres, Spain) in Manhattan. I took a master class he taught last October at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE). He handed out photos and descriptions of his signature tapas dishes and then created them for us. It was amazing!

Chef Tono Perez
Chef Toño Pérez with his interpreter showing off some tapas

Tapas was traditionally a slice of bread to cover the top of your drink and keep the flies out. Eventually something was put on it as an accompanying snack with your drink. Nowadays tapas can be anything, from a few olives on a toothpick to a slice of egg and potato tortilla, to even a slice of cheesecake.

Chef Toño's creations leaned towards the more elaborate and imaginative. And while some didn't look exactly like the photos, they were the same ingredients and taste profiles but on a smaller scale. Each showcased the purest ingredients of Chef Toño's home in Extremadura, Spain, and even a bit of his sense of humor.

jelled potato puree topped with crisp iberico bacon bits and a garlic/paprika sauce
A cup of faux espresso photo and the finished tapas

For instance, the first tapas looked like a cup of espresso, but it consisted of a jelled potato puree topped with crisp iberico bacon bits and a garlic/paprika sauce, with parmesan foam floated on top. A light sprinkling of powdered coffee delivered the aroma to completely fool the eyes and nose. The illusion was perfect. It was a savory cup of "espresso" to eat with a spoon!

creamed local cheese and diced chorizo, garnished with stems of chervil and topped with a thin wafer on bread
The photo is on pork skin but the finished tapas was on bread

Extremadura's exceptional paprika with its own D.O.

A more classic tapas, meaning bite-size goodies on a piece of bread, appeared to be next on the menu, but – as in the espresso – looks can be deceiving. In this case the "bread" was a dehydrated, twice-cooked and pressed pork skin; all crunchy and delicious. On it were dotted a creamed local cheese and diced chorizo, garnished with stems of chervil and topped with a thin wafer of briefly baked phyllo pastry that had been brushed both sides with the same garlic/paprika sauce. Here's a video of that tapas being made.

Paprika is one of many specialty products of Extremadura. Since Chef Toño used a garlic/paprika sauce in so many dishes, I want you to have the recipe. You should know ahead of time that this makes a lot of sauce; he was feeding 130 students. But there are so many uses for it and it keeps well, so don't be shy about making a batch.

Simmer 1300 grams (about three pounds) of garlic in 2600 grams (about 3 quarts) of olive oil until golden. Reduce heat and add your herb or herbs of choice – for the above recipes it is 208 grams (about 7 ounces) of fresh rosemary – but in the next recipe it is 130 grams (about 4 ounces) of dried oregano and thyme combined.

Next, his recipe states "add paprika to taste", but my recipe at home from a different Spanish chef, calls for no more than 110 grams (about 4 ounces) of paprikas – both hot and sweet – mixed to your taste. So you can see there is some flexibility here. Basically you're making a paprika flavored olive oil, so you can imagine its uses. I sauté vegetables in it, use it as part of a meat marinade, and cook shrimp in it. My recipe was originally meant as a drizzle over octopus and potatoes, a typical Galician dish, so I called it Galician oil. You can see that recipe here.

the writer's collection of flavored oils
My collection of flavored oils – red is garlic/paprika

Finally, stir all the ingredients just to combine and simmer together on low for one hour. Then cool to room temperature and allow to settle. My Galician chef added this wisdom: "most people ruin the sauce either by stirring it, or not letting it cool thoroughly." Gently remove solids and strain, trying not to have any paprika in the final sauce – "it will make the oil bitter."

The final tapas is also misleading in that it is called Pork Tartar with flowers and herbed mustard. This a standard tapas in that it really is made with a toasted slice of bread, but the pork is cured, not raw. Since it is not "cooked" technically it can be called tartar, but don't worry – you're not eating raw pork. It was finely minced with egg yolk, pickles and onions, just like a beef tartar. Then a little garlic/paprika sauce and mustard were added before it was put in a pastry bag and chilled. That, piped onto the toast, with a mustard and creamed cheese mix dotted on top of it – the whole covered with edible flowers and micro greens – made a stunning and delicious treat!

The original was on bread but the finished tapas was on a spoon sans bread

There. Thanks to Chef Toño Pérez and the fine ingredients of Extremadura, you have three tapas to make for World Tapas Day. You have plenty of flexibility in the recipes. Meaning, you can't go wrong so long as you use the finest ingredients and the pictures of the finished tapas as a guide. Please contact me or leave a message below if you'd like the complete recipes. (And do make that garlic/paprika sauce – you'll love it!)

Related Articles:
TAPAS: Opposite Sides of Madrid’s Culinary Coin; A Food & Wine Tour of Alcala; Savoring Seville As We Wave Adiós; Edible Books in Spain

Name: Required
E-mail: Required
City: Required

Let Richard know what you think about his traveling adventure.

* * * * *

Hey Richard - another winning series of words, all put together in your usual brilliant, and very creative format. And hey, love those glorious photos - Wow, what scenery - looks like some sort of paradise. What a super life you lead!!!

--- John Clayton, Palos Verdes CA

* * * *

I want to go there!!!!!!! Mmmmm! Yes! Love the photos and your article, Richard! Have read the book, seen the play several times and now dream of seeing these historic places. I've been wanting to go to Spain for some time. Now at 12:30 a.m. I'm heading off to bed with songs from Man of La Mancha ringing in my mind. Thanks!

--- Betsy Tuel, Rosendale, NY

* * * *

You are fortunate to have Richard on your staff. Richard is a fantastic writer and a wonderful person. Congratulations to Richard and to you.

--- Denise Dubé, New England

© All Rights Reserved. 2015.
This site is designed and maintained by WYNK Marketing. Send all technical issues to:
Friendly Planet Travel

Lovin Life After 50

Big Sur ad

Tara Tours ad

Alaska Cruises & Vacations ad

Cruise One ad

Visit Norway ad

Sitka, Alaska ad

Montreal tourism site

Visit Berlin ad

official website of the Netherlands

Cruise Copenhagen ad

Sun Valley ad

Philippine Department of Tourism portal

Quebec City tourism ad

AlaskaFerry ad

Zurich official website

Zuiderzee Museum ad