Add an avo to brighten up your tapas table

by Tia
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IMAGES TO BE CREDITED TO THE SOUTH AFRICAN AVOCADO GROWERS’ ASSOCIATION

Although there are various versions as to the true origins of tapas, the one thing global foodies agree on is that tapas are not going anywhere any time soon. So these bite-sized Spanish snacks – these days topped with delicious avo, among other things – now have an entire day to themselves, World Tapas Day, on the third Thursday of June every year (20 June 2024).

Pincho de tortilla (Spanish omelette made with eggs, potatoes and olive oil), patatas bravas (fried cubed potatoes), cured ham and cheese served with picos (crunchy bread), deep fried calamari, potato croquettes, and pan tumaca (bread topped with a tomato, olive oil and garlic sauce) are popular tapas still served in Spain today.

Beyond their home turf, tapas have taken on a life of their own across the globe as small plates of food enjoyed with drinks, shared among groups of friends, eaten as appetisers before main meals, or just enjoyed as a light meal.

As their popularity has spread, so have the different ways that people are enjoying them, with fresh new ingredients increasingly making their way onto the tapas menu.

Of course bright green avos with their high visual appeal are right up there with the most sought after tapas toppings; who can resist a tasty morsel when it’s topped with a splash of brilliant avo?  

That’s actually one of the reasons why tapas have remained so popular since they hit the international food trend lists 20 years ago: they’re picture perfect and so Instagrammable!

Different dishes also hold different sensory appeal, they’re great for tasting and trying new dishes, and they’re the best way to eat together in a group, where everything is easily shareable.

Thanks to their versatility, foodies have begun adding an avo to their tapas recipes in recent years.

Avos can be used as a creamy base for countless dips and sauces – a staple on tapas tables – and can be incorporated sliced, diced, mashed or smashed into both meat and plant-based tapas. Their buttery texture makes them ideal to counter crunch, their creaminess offsets chilli and spice, and that gorgeous green colour brightens up any dish.

The fact that avos are free from cholesterol and sodium, are a source of fibre, and are high in heart-healthy fats has reinforced their popularity, as tapas trends have steadily moved towards more healthy options.

Tapas are great for al fresco dining, which suits our climate here in South Africa just perfectly! Take inspiration from the colourful Spanish sharing table, and whip up some tasty tapas for the family this month (just don’t forget to add an avo!).

For further information and avo recipes, visit www.avocado.co.za , like us on Facebook @iloveavocadoSA and follow us on Instagram @iloveavossa

Calamari Avo Puttanesca

Serves 4 as a snack

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Avocado or olive oil, for cooking
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 2 anchovy fillets, chopped (optional)
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) capers
  • 200 g packet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 100 g packet Kalamata olives, drained
  • 400 g fresh calamari heads and tubes, cleaned and halved
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • Handful coriander, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Baguette slices, to serve

Method:

  1. Heat a good splash of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high and fry the garlic, chilli, anchovy and capers for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and olives and heat through.
  2. Add more oil if necessary. Add the calamari and lemon juice and cook for 1-2 minutes until the calamari is just cooked.
  3. Take off the heat and stir through the avocado and coriander. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with baguette.

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