Feast of the Nine Tapa

Christmas eve comes every year and it’s time to consider this year’s feast. The Italians seem to have a lock on traditional overindulgent feasts with the feast of the seven fishes, but i felt the need for something different. My toughts turned west, to the culinary heaven of Spain and tapas.

Tapa are perfect for the holiday season, easily shared and nibbled, they don’t require sit down formailty and the pair well with plenty of booze. They also have the benefit that I can make alot of them before hand and then just plate or bake at go time.

So open a couple notches on your belt, buy a looser shirt, and prepare for a feast. This one will feed 8-10, you can scale or overeat as you see fit.


Board with Meats, Cheeses, Olives, Nuts, and Pan Con Tomate
Jamon, Goat Cheese, and Sun Dried Tomato Pinxto
Patas con Alioli
Piquillo peppers with Tuna
Tomatoes stuffed with Crab
Croquettes de Jamon
Gambas al Ajillo
Datiles con Beicon
Albondigas con Sofrito

Christmas Eve’s Eve – shopping

Shopping for the feast is pretty straightforward. There are only a couple of things that you need to handle with care (shrimp, crab) and most of the list you will likely have in your pantry.

Shopping List
white wine vinegar 1 log goat cheese
2 cans crushed tomatoes spanish cheeses
whole grain mustard olives
dijon mustard eggs
apple cider vinegar 2 sticks unsalted butter
sweet smoked paprika 1 small tub sour cream
sherry vinegar creamy blue cheese
1/2 cup sun dried tomato VEGGIES
SEAFOOD 12 grape tomatoes
n fresh anchovies 1 lb red potatoes
nice canned tuna 2 medium shallots
8 oz crab 1 large spanish onion
1 lb jumbo shrimps BREAD
DRIED 1 baguette
12 dried mejool dates fine bread crumbs
roasted salted marcona almonds 1 cibatta
1/8 cup hazelnuts, crushed HERBS
MEATS 1 bunch parsley
1 lb ground lamb 2 heads garlic
1 package bacon FRUIT
MEAT 2 lemons
1/2 lb iberico jamon BOOZE

Christmas Eve’s Eve Prep

There is a lot you can do the night before. You can make the garlic potato salad, cook the bechamel for the croquettes, build the bacon wrapped dates, form the meatballs, make the sofrito, and prep various stuff. The goal here is to do as much as possible to keep the day of simple as possible. Try to make 2-3 hours of time to work and you’ll get a lot done.

1 pot, filled with water
1 ice batch
1 bowl
1 baking dish

Step Action
1 Peel and dice potatoes, add to pot as you dice. Once done, put the pot on high heat and let come to a boil. Once at a boil, wait a few minutes, then check every minute or so to test if the potatoes are done. Once done, pull, strain, put into ice bath to cool, strain, and put in a bowl.
2 Meanwhile, start chopping stuff. You’ll need to mince the onion, slice 12 cloves of garlic, mince 6 more, and mince your way to having 1/4 cup of parsley
3 Now that you have chopped business and your potatoes are probably still coming to a boil, now is a good time to make the sauce for the potato salad
4 Next work on your croquettas. The onions take a while to cook, so while you are doing that
5 Work on your meatballs
6 Finish croquetta mixture, pour into baking dish and let cool
7 Assemble the bacon wrapped dates except for skewer

Christmas Eve

It’s go time! In the table below, all times are relative to the start of the feast, F. Enjoy!

Step Action
F-2 Make crab stuffed tomatoes
F-1.5 Make tuna stuff piquillos
F-1 Brown meatballs and cook with sofrito on low
F-.5 Soak sundried tomatoes for pinxto
F-.45 Slice breads
F Assemble cheese, meat, and olive board. Make pan con tomate and serve
F+.25 Put out potato salad
F+.5 Make pinxto, serve with tomatos and tuna
F+.5 Fire up the oven
F+1 Make shrimps, serve
F+1.5 Fry the croquettas, serve hot
F+2 Roast dates, when done serve with meatballs
F+2.5 Hope you made enough