Entertaining at home doesn’t always have to look the same.
Sometimes, if a full-blown dinner party feels like too much, we fill the table with tasters.
A tapas-inspired spread is casual without being too informal, planned but not stuffy. And it can take less work. If you’re creating the whole meal, you can pace yourself by making dishes that will be served cold the day before. Or assign each guest one dip or small dish to create an elegant, coordinated meal.
Though tapas are rooted in Spanish cuisine, there’s no reason you can’t emulate the idea using foods from other parts of the world.
Here are some ideas:
Instead of curry or korma, serve pakoras and samosas with spiced paneer cubes, crispy masala vada, lentil-stuffed dal kachori, and the fried dumplings known as mysore bonda. Dress them up with chutney and raita and fill a few teapots with chai.
Alongside Egyptian flatbread and mint tea, serve chicken kebabs, stewed fava beans, spice-infused North African meatballs, and thick Algerian crepes. Pass the chermoula.
Augment a meal of Swedish meatballs with hasselback potatoes, egg salad rolls, fried herring, shrimp on toast (toast Skagen), cabbage rolls, and potato dumplings. Mix up some cocktails made with elderflower saft.
Since each guest will construct a unique plate from an abundance of appetizers, the tasting supper has an element of spontaneity. It’s an interactive, communal experience that, at its best, encourages an exchange of ideas that mirrors the exchange of dishes across the table.