Small plates, big flavour: tapas recipes for summer

These four, easy recipes will take you from picnic to dinner party with ease and flair this summer


It’s over, summer. You and I are done.

I won’t let you hurt me like this again. I’m done with buying barbecue coals, burgers and sausages, only to be left disappointed by another rainy weekend. I’ve decided instead to make food that brings its own sunshine, whatever the weather. If it’s warm, we can eat outside, but if not, we can curl up under a blanket and eat tasty snacks that remind us of holidays, while we consider lighting the fire in July.

It’s never been easier to enjoy a tapas feast; cured meats, stuffed chillies, marinated olives, Manchego cheese… You can pick up all of these at a supermarket, then make a couple of extra dishes to impress and so you still feel like you cooked from scratch.

I use chorizo in cooking a lot, but this was the first time I’ve tried simmering it in red wine and honey. It’s a revelation. It gets sticky and somehow spicier, rich with paprika heat. Do give it a try. The crispy, ham-wrapped asparagus is excellent too – great with a glass of wine or a dry sherry.

Perhaps we’ll be blessed with a few sunny weekends this month, but if not, I’ll always have my tapas back-up plan.

Asparagus in crispy Prosciutto

1 bunch of asparagus
1 or 2 packs of Prosciutto, Parma or Serrano ham
A dash of olive oil

1 Peel the base of the asparagus stems with a vegetable peeler
2 If they’re thicker than a pencil, boil in hot water for 1 minute then plunge into cold water to keep their colour
3 Wrap a piece of ham around each stem, leaving the end sticking out
4 Fry gently in a little olive oil until the ham is crispy and the asparagus is tender

Chorizo in red wine

1 packs of cooking chorizo – cut some of the sausages in half
A small glass of red wine
1 or 2 finely chopped shallots
A finely chopped clove of garlic
A tablespoon of honey
Sprinkling of parsley
A dash of olive oil

1 Gently fry the shallots and garlic in the olive oil, remove from the pan
2 Fry the chorizo in the same pan until coloured, then add the shallots and garlic back in
3 Add the wine and the honey and simmer for a few minutes until rich and sticky
4 Sprinkle with parsley and serve with bread to mop up the juices

Mozzarella and tomato rosemary skewers

A bunch of rosemary
A tub of mozzarella pearls
Cherry tomatoes
Basil leaves

1 Strip the leaves off the rosemary, leaving the top few in place
2 Skewer the stalks through a mozzarella pearl, folded basil leaves and tomatoes

Fresh figs with goat’s cheese and honey

Fresh figs
Runny honey
Soft goat’s cheese
Thyme leaves

1 Cut a cross in the top of each fig and squeeze to open
2 break up the goat’s cheese and serve with the figs, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with thyme leaves

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Maddy Potts

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Maddy Potts

As Marketing Executive at Center Parcs, I’m lucky enough to hear all the amazing stories that come from our guests, our Villages and the wider travel industry. I’ll blog about the best ones, bring you some fantastic competitions and update you on all the exciting new activities and goings on at Center Parcs.