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Spanish-Style Tapas On A Shoestring

If you're planning a New Year's Eve menu, tapas may be the answer. Chef Seamus Mullen of New York's "Boqueria" and "Suba" restaurants stopped by The Saturday Early Show to cook up a feast for eight people for just $80.

Mullen's menu includes spiced Marcona almonds, marinated Spanish olives, a selection of Spanish cured meats, marinated Manchego cheese, Spanish finger sandwiches, roasted vegetables and goat cheese toast points, pan-roasted Brussels sprouts with chorizo, and Spanish Cava for a toast.

Food Facts:
Marcona almonds: The almonds Seamus calls for in his stuffed dates is smoother and flatter than a traditional almonds. It's known for its sweetness and soft texture. Of course if you can't find these, any almond is fine to use.

Guindilla peppers: Seamus calls for these peppers in several of his recipes. The mild green peppers and pickled; Italian pepperoncini makes a good substiute. The hotter red guindillas are dried; red pepper flakes can stand in their place.

Manchego cheese: This is a semi-hard sheep's milk cheese. Its flavor ranges from mild to sharp, depending on how long it has been aged.

Cava: Spanish sparkling wine that is often quite inexpensive.

  • Spiced Marcona Almonds

    1/2 pound Marcona almonds
    2 tablespoons smoked Spanish paprika
    Pinch of ground cinnamon
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    Pinch of salt

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss almonds with olive oil, season with paprika, cinnamon and salt. Spread on a cookie sheet and toast for 5 to 10 minutes in the oven.

  • Assortment Of Cured Spanish Meats

    1/4 pound sliced Salchichon or your favorite hard salami
    1/4 pound sliced Jamon Serrano
    1/4 pound sliced chorizo
    Toasted baguette

    Arrange on a platter and serve with toasted baguette. (Note: Spanish cured meats are becoming more readily available nationwide and can also be purchased online.)

  • Marinated Spanish Olives

    1/4 pound mixed green and black Spanish olives (arbequina, coquillo, gordal, obregon), not the ones stuffed with pimientos that grandpa used for his martinis!
    2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (preferably arbequina)
    2 tsp Sherry vinegar (can substitute balsamic)
    1 tsp dried guindilla pepper (can substitute red pepper flakes)
    2 Tbsp mixed chopped herbs (chives, thyme, parsley, basil)

    Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mix thoroughly and serve.

  • Finger Sandwiches Of Spanish Oil Cured Tuna And Pickled Guindilla Peppers

    1 loaf of sourdough Pullman bread
    1 can of Bonito del Norte or Ortiz Spanish tuna
    1 Tbsp chopped chives
    1 Tbsp diced shallots
    1 Tbsp capers or chopped caper berries
    1 Tbsp lemon juice
    1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    Lemon zest
    ¼ cup chopped black olives
    2 tbsp mayonnaise
    Salt and pepper to taste
    ½ cup pickled guindilla peppers (or substitute pepperoncino)
    2 free-range eggs cooked for 6 minutes in simmering water

    Preparation: Slice the loaf into thin slices. Combine all other ingredients, except eggs and guindilla peppers. Distribute the tuna evenly on the slices of bread, layer with slices of the hard cooked egg and the guindilla peppers. Cover with the remaining bread and cut each sandwich into quarters.

  • Roasted Eggplant, Peppers And Zucchini On Toast With Goat's Cheese

    1 large Baguette, cut into thin slices and toasted until golden brown in the oven
    2 small eggplant diced into 1/2 inch cubes
    1 large Spanish onion, 1/2 inch dice
    1 red bell pepper, 1/2 inch dice
    1 green bell pepper, 1/2 inch dice
    1 tomato, cut in half and grated on a cheese grater
    3 Tbsp diced flat leaf parsley
    2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 tsp sherry vinegar
    Salt and pepper
    1/4 pound of Spanish creamy goat's cheese
    2 Tbsp diced black Spanish olives
    2 Tbsp diced chives

    In a food mixer or in a bowl with a wooden spoon, whip the goat's cheese with 1 Tbsp olive oil and chives. Whip until smooth and creamy, adding a Tbsp of water if needed. Heat a medium size saute pan over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil, eggplant, onion, peppers and olives and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add grated tomato and cook for another 20 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and sherry vinegar to taste and finish with chopped parsley. Arrange the toast points on a serving tray, spread a little goat's cheese on each one and top with a spoonful of vegetables.

  • Manchego Cheese Marinated In Olive Oil And Rosemary

    1/2 Pound of Manchego cheese cut into 1/2 inch cubes
    2 cups of Arbequina olive oil
    1/4 cup chopped rosemary
    1 Tbsp chopped thyme
    2 dried guindilla peppers (can substitute red pepper flakes) Fresh cracked pepper

    Mix cheese, herbs, olive oil, guindilla pepper and cracked pepper, cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Serve in small bowls with toothpicks.

  • Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Chorizo

    1/2 pound of Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
    2 Tbsp olive oil
    1/4 cup diced Spanish chorizo
    1 Tbsp butter
    1 cup chicken stock
    1 Tbsp chopped chives

    In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add Brussels sprouts, gently brown them, about 3 minutes, add chorizo and cook for another minute, add butter, chicken stock and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, about 3 more minutes.