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Spanish Banderillas - Skewered Bite-Sized Appetizers


Banderillas a version of tapas that are skewered bite-sized appetizers

The term banderillas refers to the skewers used in bullfighting. In Spain, banderillas also mean bite-sized appetizers that are served on pointed sticks. There are many different types of foods that are referred to as tapas: pinchos are served on toothpicks, montadotos attached to pieces of bread, and the more sophisticated cazuelitas, which include the use of miniature earthenware casserole dishes or pots. Others will tell you that there are just three categories: cosas de picar (finger foods), pinchos (any morsel attached to a toothpick or skewer), and cazuelas (the "little dishes"). It depends on who you ask.

Banderillas, in particular, are those appetizers served on a skewer that is larger than a toothpick. The morsels are intended to be eaten in one bite and designed to complement each other.

There are typically three or more food choices for each skewer and these will vary from region to region. It's also acceptable to make up your own. We find that three selections make up a perfect bite, especially if some of the ingredients, such as the tomatoes and cocktail onions, are sliced.

A few banderillas combinations:

Cherry tomatoes, boiled new potatoes, olives
Cocktail onions, prosciutto, cheese
Shrimp, artichoke, roasted pepper
Pickled peppers, anchovies, capers
Apple, feta cheese, salmon
Ham, fig, cantaloupe

Quite often, some of these ingredients are first marinated in olive oil with seasonings or a blend of mayonnaise and lemon. They can then be grilled or oven-roasted and served hot or cold. Or, cook them separately a day ahead and carefully reheat.

Note that Spanish foods (i.e., those from Spain) are not as spicy as their Latin counterparts. Spices are used but not to produce a fiery bite, simply a blended one.

 

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