Comments: Not a book for the faint of heart, Tapas is great if you love reading cookbooks to gain more cooking information. If you want to cook these dishes, though, you'll need a commitment!
These little Spanish dishes that we can't exactly call appetizers require many, many ingredients – often in small quantity and often hard to come by – and lots of time to prepare (in general). There is a small section of banderillas that you can whip together, stab with a toothpick, and serve, but the majority of recipes are quite involved.
This book is a rewrite of Ms. Casas' original book on tapas – now more than 20 years old – and includes 50 new recipes that reflect some of the culinary innovations that have swept Spain in the meantime, and include Fried Goat Cheese with Onion Confit (the cover photograph), Chicken Terriyaki with Arugula Toasts, and Beer-Marinated Chicken Wings with Salsa Brava. The book is divided into four sections: tapas in sauce; cold tapas, involving marinades, pates, salads, etc.; tapas with bread or pastry; and tapas that require some last-minute preparation. There is a wonderful little section at the back offering menu suggestions for tapas-based meals, including an after-theater tapas party, a vegetarian dinner, an Andalusian party, etc. There is also a small dictionary of Spanish foods and cookware and a list of sources of Spanish products in this country. Happy hunting!
There are many variations on similar themes – 15 ways to stuff mushrooms, a zillion recipes on puff pastry, etc. There are also some pretty challenging tasks (cutting a log of goat cheese into 1/8-inch slices, for example).
Still, if you are smitten by the preparation, serving, and eating of appetizer-like foods (as we are), you'll love the book. You may need a little fortitude (we are currently building up the courage to make our next dinner party a tapas-only affair), but you'll love the book.