Each year for the Mr.’s birthday, I try to pick a different theme for what I will cook for him, and this year the theme was Spain.  I had so much fun picking out all of the different recipes, and we had even more fun eating them.


For brunch, it was a smashing Tortilla Española, served with Queso Iberico, Jamon Serrano and some beautiful blackberries.  We also had some Mimosa’s made with fresh squeezed orange juice and Cava.

(In our house, we would call the tortilla española an “anytizer,”  something that could be eaten any time of the day.  It is a delicious full-flavored cousin of the frittata, simply made with potatoes, onions, eggs and seasoning, served at room temperature.  It will definitely be making a regular appearance in our kitchen.)

For dinner I whipped up a selection of tapas to have with a delightfully crisp Cava.


chilled mussels served with saffron aïoli


pan con tomate


spanish cheese, meats, marcona almonds and Seville orange marmalade


salmorejo, cold tomato soup

After nibbling away on the tapas for a bit, and enjoying a few glasses of Cava, it was time to get down to business and cook up the main attraction, Paella!  I was so excited about cooking the Paella, that I forgot to take any pictures until it was done, but let it be known that it was quite simple to prepare, and with extraordinary results.  We will definitely make it again!



I followed this paella recipe, with a few simple changes.  I simmered the chicken stock with the saffron and the pimenton (I used half sweet and half spicy pimenton) before adding it to the rice.  I also sautéed some minced shallot with the ground tomatoes. I did not make the garlic/almond paste (for no good reason), I just felt that it didn’t need it.  And finally, and most obviously, I added seafood as well – Alaskan king crab, lobster tails, whole shrimp, scallops, clams, octopus and calamari.  With our Paella we drank a great Petalos del Bierzo that I nabbed up from here.  (Extraordinary wine selection if you are ever looking for something special!)

And there you have it, tapas inspiration for tonight.  I encourage you to try some of these recipes if you haven’t before.  We really loved them all and they made for a very feliz cumpleanos!

2 Replies to “Tapas”

  1. Looks so delicious! Lucky him I want you to cook for me on my bday!

    1. That’s so sweet of you!

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