Tapas of Almonds, Olives and Cheese

Recipe taken from The Ultimate Christmas Cookbook

These three simple ingredients are lightly flavoured to create a delicious Spanish tapas medley that is perfect for a casual starter or nibbles to serve with pre-dinner drinks.

Ingredients:buffet tapas

2.5ml ( ½ tsp) coriander seeds
2.5ml ( ½ tsp) fennel seeds
5ml (1 tsp) chopped fresh rosemary
10ml (2 tsp) chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, crushed
15ml (1 tblsp) sherry vinegar
30ml (2 tblsp) olive oil
115g (4oz) black olives
115g (4oz) green olives

For the Marinated Cheese:-
150g (5oz) goat’s cheese
90ml (6 tblsp) olive oil
15ml (1 tblsp) white wine vinegar
5ml (1 tsp) black peppercorns
1 garlic clove, sliced
3 fresh tarragon or thyme sprigs
tarragon sprigs, to garnish

For the Salted Almonds
1.5ml ( ¼ tsp) cayenne pepper
30ml (2 tblsp) sea salt
25g (1oz/2 tblsp) butter
60ml (4 tblsp) olive oil
200g (7oz) blanched almonds
Extra sea salt for sprinkling (optional)

Serves: 6-8

Step One : To make the marinated olives, crush the coriander and fennel seeds with a pestle and mortar.  Or, put them into a strong plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin.  Mix together with the rosemary, parsley, garlic, vinegar and oil and pour over the olives in a small bowl.  Cover with clear film and chill for up to 1 week.

Step Two : To make the marinated cheese, cut the cheese into bite-size pieces, leaving the rind on.  Mix together the oil, vinegar, peppercorns, garlic and herb sprigs and pour over the cheese in a small bowl.  Cover with clear film and chill for us to 3 days.

Step Three : To make the salted almonds, mix together the cayenne pepper and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Melt the butter with the olive oil in a frying pan.  Add the almonds to the frying pan and stir-fry for about 5 minutes, until the almonds are golden.

Step Four : Tip the almonds out of the frying pan, into the salt mixture, and toss together until the almonds are coated.  Leave to cool, then remove with a slotted spoon and store them in a jar or airtight container for up to 1 week.

Step Five : To serve the tapas, arrange in small, shallow serving dishes.  Use fresh sprigs of tarragon to garnish the cheese and scatter the almonds with a little more salt, if desired.

Cook’s tip: If serving with pre-dinner drinks, provide cocktail sticks for spearing the olives and cheese.
 

A serving dish for Tapas …

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