The heat is really on, up here in the north of the world. For awhile now the temperatures has been rising from upper 30's to lower 40's in Celsius (that would be up to 108 Fahrenheit, and without air-conditioning!!) in Oslo. And when it is that hot, I loose appetite, and the last thing I want to do, is turn my stove or oven on, to heat up my home even more. But the warm evenings are inviting and lovely, perfect time to sit with family and friends in your garden, porch, or terrace and enjoy life.
On the evenings like this, my go-to solution is tapas. Tapas is a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, and the origin comes from Spain, but there is no limits with the serving options, except our imagination. You can serve it as an appetizer, or make a full meal out of it. You can make a plated presentation for a sit down meal, serve it family style all gathered around the table, or set a buffet and let your guests stroll around, enjoy the evening, company, and delicious food.
I love putting together Prosciutto or Jamón Serrano ham, Chorizo sausage, and Sopressa Italian aged salami, on the meat platter. On the cheese tray I often put Manchego (firm cheese from the milk of sheep), Morbier (a semi-soft cows' milk cheese), and a good aged Brie (soft cow's milk cheese, unpasteurized in Europe). A mixed baby-green salad with arugula & Balsamic vinegar on the side is great addition, as well as choice of mixed olives, cut bell peppers, grapes, apple and/or pear slices, jellies made for cheese, nuts, honey, and pickled almost anything, and not forgetting a great selection of fresh bread -- and I have my table full of choices, colors, and tastes.
As you see, I'm very liberal with the selection of foods, and not containing it in Spanish cuisine nearly at all. So the choices and selection you put together is endless. If you have a grill for use or want to cook something, marinated chicken skewers, strip cut entrecôte after grilling, small spicy meatballs, potato wedges, new potatoes in a tomato sauce, marinated grilled vegetables, or spiced up file of fish, are just some ideas to prepare. Also, for example, a craw fish or shrimp salad, light pasta salad with pesto or other oil based marinade are great additions to the table.
So let your imagination run wild, put together a lovely combination of your favorites, set a big table outside on a warm summer evening, and invite your friends over for a delicious and pleasant evening. Voilà!
I'm a chef and a pastry chef, and I love food. Preparing a meal for someone is a show of love; for your craft, for the ingredients, and for the ones eating.
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