Following “La Seleccion” with a Selection of Tapas

Variety of Spanish Pintxos Made @ Home

In celebration of the start of Euro 2008 – the European soccer/football championships – yesterday, and in light of the fact that England failed to qualify because they were awful, I am in need of a team to follow, so have decided to become an honorary Spanish soccer fan for the next month, or however long it takes for them to get knocked out.

The reason for this, you see (and yes, I’ll get to something actually food-related soon, so please be patient), is not just because I love Spain and am fascinated by nearly all things Spanish, it is also because historically, the Spanish team has always been long on potential but very short on delivery. And as an English football fan, I can appreciate this complex psychology of pitting hope against realistic expectations, and the likelihood of some great moments followed by the depths of despair.

Spanish Pintxos Made @ Home - Morcilla-Stuffed Squid with Manchego Pintxos

So, to get into the spirit, I decided to watch the opening games of the tournament (neither of which actually featured Spain – they don’t play until Tuesday against Russia, but I’ll be at work then) with a couple of cold beers and, fittingly, a “seleccion de pintxos/pinchos” (small tapas on rounds of bread and often eaten off a toothpick) – the Spanish national team are known as “La Seleccion.”

Spanish Pintxos Made @ Home

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I found that this is the perfect kind of sports-watching food. It’s easy and cheap to make, with four or five ingredients plus a couple of staples from your fridge, you can make a variety of pinchos to suit the tastes of any friends you’re watching it with, and best of all, they are much, much healthier than the conventional bags of chips and salsa, cheetos, or miscellaneous frozen things with dip. This last one is important, because should your team lose, disappointment and self-loathing will be all because of the game, not the snacks!

These pinchos were made from, variously: manchego cheese, piquillo peppers stuffed with meat and cheese, cured anchovies, lettuce, lemon peel, leftover morcilla stuffed-squid, grilled Spanish mackerel, capers, olives, and the very wonderful thing that is leftover Rioja-style chorizo and potatoes (a dish Paul Bocuse declared to be one of the greatest dishes created by man).

Spanish Pintxos Made @ Home - Stuffed Red Pepper with Lettuce and Capers

You should give sports and pinchos a try, they really are a “match” made in heaven.

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  • 17 thoughts on “Following “La Seleccion” with a Selection of Tapas

    1. Groan at the pun, but I could plow right through a platter of those tapas. I’m starving. Your leftovers are a helluva lot more interesting than mine!

    2. Una selección realmente impresionante! 🙂 Great spread…and thanks for supporting the Spaniards! Let’s see if we actually make it this year. 😉 😀

    3. What tasty little morsels! I just wanted to say that I’ve been enjoying your blog for a while now. I really like your style and the recipes are fab.

    4. Marc – me too!!

      this looks.. interesting. I TRY to be more adventurous in my eating and I would try all these, I just hope I would enjoy them as much as they should be enjoyed. I still get the wigglies about such things as squid. i try, though, i do! in fact I ate a frog leg for the first time the other day and it was actually really good! 😉

    5. Can I skip the sports and just eat the tapas? I’m not into spectator sports – I just can’t watch other people play things. How about some of those ravioli while you’re at it too?

    6. Gracias! Helen, thanks for the encouraging words!! We’re in a heat wave here in NYC and, believe me, this is needed encouragement!

      Christey: I’m proud of you for trying new things… that’s the spirit! if you don’t like it, at least you can say WHY… cause you tried it!

      Rachel: hells yeah you can skip the sports and just eat the tapas! what do you think I did? 🙂

      Thanks everyone for the kind comment. I’m officially melting away here in NYC.

    7. Definitely no football for me!! Its taken over the television stations here. I’m outside gardening.
      I love the beautiful food – is this TV food the norm in your part of the world – it’s far too sophisticated, for dare I say it – most Brits!!!

    8. LOL, Margaret! Thanks for the compliment! Believe me, it’s not the norm here in America – we’re the home of fast food, meatloaf and mac and cheese. But, I guess some of the food we make is sophisticated only b/c of ingredients. but alot of our food is influenced by travel to other parts of the world. we learn about new ingredients and ways to mix things and so maybe us Americans and Brits may look at those tapas and think, “WOW! Sophisticated!” but I’m sure many of the Spanish who could look at them would think, “Mmmmm… a snack!” It’s all relative, i guess.

      But I hope people who think our recipes look sophisticated would still try their hand at them. I swear, most of them really are easy to make!

    9. Well, I’ve been following the French team but since they pretty much suck this year I think I’ll be following the Spanish team very soon. Hehe. Those are delicious looking tapas, perfect for the weather. I’ll have a nice glass of Rioja or even a chilled Rosé with that. As a matter of fact, anything chilled will do.

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