TapasSpanish food is very varied, with a strong emphasis on dishes based around seafood or pork, especially near the coast. Tapas is a wonderfully flexible way of eating and works just as well is a local restaurant or on board a yacht at anchor.
Food afloat or ashore
TortillaThe quintessential tapas, this omelette with potato and onions is a Spanish staple. Delicious hot or cold, good tortillas can be bought shrink-wrapped from most supermarkets, making them ideal for serving on board, especially when underway.
For an extra crunch, finely dice some tomato, cucumber and onion, bring the chopping board on deck and let the crew scoop up the vegetables with their fingers to sprinkle into the cool soup.
Jamon Iberico (Ham)Spanish ham is a delicacy and the Spanish take great pride in it. The flesh is silky, the fat translucent. Usually served simply with a light drizzle of olive oil. Onboard, it can be served draped over Cantaloupe or Galia melons, if you can cope with the 70s throwback.
Aceites (Olives)My particular favourite is olives stuffed with anchovies (anchoa). These were until recently rare in Britain although they have started turning up in England. The salty burst of the anchovies makes the traditional pimiento stuffing seem insipid and dull.
Boquerones (Anchovies)Boquereones are anchovies that have been soaked in vinegar. They are much less salty than the anchovies we are used to in tins or jars in Britain, and have a rich taste overlaid with a delightfully tart vinegar.
AshoreMany of these dishes can be made afloat but are fiddly. I reckon its best to leave them to the experts.
Datiles con beicon (Dates with bacon)The clue is in the name. Sweet, cloying dates wrapped in salty, luscious bacon and grilled or fried. Delicious (and I don't like dates)
Gambas al Ajillo (Prawns in garlic)Tiny prawns (more like shrimps), deep fried in sizzling hot olive oil with slices of garlic. Very hot, indulgent gorgeous.
Pimientos de padronThese little green peppers are fried and salty and absolutely delicious after a hard day's sailing. Whether the body needs salt is unclear; it certainly enjoys it
These are not for the faint-hearted. Most of the peppers are sweet and succulent, but about one in ten is a depth charge: a pepper with a kick like a mule. These hidden peppers, which taste like jalapenos, look identical. I'm not a big fan of spicy foods, but I love these so much that I'm prepared to risk the kick anyway.