Fleur de Lolly column: Enjoy the variety on Tapas Thursdays
We all know about Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays and Wing Wednesdays. During the summer months, we enjoy Tapas Thursdays.
If you’re unfamiliar with tapas, it’s basically an appetizer portion of the main dish. These are popular in Spanish cuisine, and there are specific restaurants that only serve tapas.
Tapas may be served either hot or cold. It’s fun and entertaining to dine with a group of friends and enjoy these “small plates” by sharing a wide variety of menu items.
ARTICHOKE AND ASPARAGUS FRITTERS WITH OLIVE RELISH
This tapas dish is vegetarian and incorporates a bounty of fresh and healthy ingredients. The olive relish is the perfect addition to the crunchy fritters. There’s no salt added because of the briny olives.
For the olive relish, you’ll need:
• 1/2 cup pitted green olives, finely chopped
• 1/2 pitted black olives, finely chopped
• 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside until ready to serve.
For the fritters, you’ll need:
• 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed, finely chopped
• 4 ounces artichoke hearts, in brine, drained, finely chopped
• 2 eggs
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 1/4 cup self-rising flour
• Vegetable oil for shallow frying
Combine asparagus, artichoke, eggs, mint, cheese and flour in a medium bowl.
Heat oil in a large, shallow skillet. Shallow fry heaping tablespoons of fritter batter in batches until browned and cooked thoroughly.
Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with olive relish.
ROASTED ARTICHOKE HEARTS, RED PEPPERS AND CAPERS WITH BASIL DRESSING
If you plan on making a tapas meal, this will win hands down as your salad selection. Based on an Ina Garten recipe, the combination of artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, briny capers and a citrus/basil dressing can be served warm or cold.
• 16-ounce canned artichoke hearts, drained
• Salt and fresh ground pepper
• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 12-ounce jar roasted red pepper, drained
• 1/2 cup chopped red onion
• 3 tablespoons capers
• Freshly chopped parsley or basil for garnish
• 2 minced shallots (or 2 tablespoons finely minced red onion)
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
• 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put artichokes on a baking sheet, lightly salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Toss the artichokes to coat them with the olive oil and spread in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes.
While artichokes are roasting, make the dressing.
Using a food processor with the steel blade, process the shallots (or red onion) and basil. When shallots and basil are relatively well chopped, add lemon juice, white wine vinegar and Dijon mustard. Process 30 seconds.
With the food processor running, add the 1/2 olive oil through the feed tube and process 1 to 2 minutes until the dressing is well blended.
Put the roasted artichokes in a large bowl and toss with 1/2 cup of the dressing. Let it marinate while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Cut the roasted red peppers into bite-sized pieces and chop the onions into small dice. Drain the capers.
Add the red peppers, onions and capers to the artichokes. Stir to combine the ingredients and to coat the vegetables with the dressing.
Taste and, if needed, add additional salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley or basil for garnish.
Save remaining dressing to toss with leftover salad before serving. Chill before serving if desired.
Laura Tolbert, also known as Fleur de Lolly, has been sharing recipes, table decor ideas and advice for fellow foodies and novices on her blog, fleurdelolly.blogspot.com, for more than eight years. She won the Duke’s Mayonnaise 100th Anniversary nationwide recipe contest for her Alabama White BBQ Sauce. You can contact her at facebook.com/fleurde.lolly.5, on Instagram, and at firstname.lastname@example.org.