José Andrés Says These Are His All-Time Favorite Tapas

According to Caroline's Cooking, tapas are small servings of food in Spanish culture. These dishes can often be found in bars, served alongside beer and wine. In fact, some places in Spain will offer smaller options — like olives and chips — for free with each drink. But if you're willing to pay a little extra for a tasty snack, you can often find a wealth of options.

Tapas can serve as an appetizer before dinner, or you can even construct a number of easy Spanish and Spanish-Inspired tapas recipes for your next party. If you host a party at home, tapas are a great way to offer your guests a few different snack options. The Travel states that tapas are often more filling than appetizers, so it is easy to comprise an entire meal of them.

Like the rest of us, celebrity chef José Andrés is a fan of tapas in general, but there is one specific dish that he enjoys above all others.

One dish reminds him of his childhood

José Andrés has stated that tapas are a great way for people to enjoy a variety of Spanish dishes in relatively short order. By Andrés' logic, tapas allow each customer to sample a large number of different options all at once. Of course, given the fact that Andrés originally hails from Spain, it probably shouldn't be too surprising that the celebrity chef is so fond of the tradition. In fact, if you were to ask Andrés', he would probably say that the best tapas in Spain actually stem from his childhood. Andrés told TVLine that as a child, his mother used to make croquetas for him and his brother. 

Croquetas, also called croquettes, are made by stuffing meats and veggies inside a thick bechamel, which is then coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried for a crunchy exterior (via Spanish Food Guide). Andrés says his mother used to save this dish until the end of the month when money was tight, and then she would make the filling out of leftover dinner dishes. The breadcrumbs were homemade as well, using stale bread that his mother would grind up. (She often used the coffee grinder — and Andrés says the coffee brewed afterward would be thick as a result!)

They even taste good before frying

If José Andrés couldn't wait to taste the finished product, he would sneak down to the kitchen at night, open the fridge, and eat the solidifying bechamel (via TVLine). Though his mother would roll them out and fry them the next day, Andrés still craves the taste of the unfried rolls — he even said he may one day serve the croquetas bechamel mixture to be eaten with a spoon.

If you want to try your hand at making your own croquetas, you likely already have most of the necessary ingredients in your kitchen. Spanish Sabores states that you will need butter, oil, onions, salt, and nutmeg to make the base of the filling. Then, add some diced ham and flour to thicken the mixture. Gradually add milk until the dough is thick and creamy, and finally allow it to cool.

When the dough has cooled to room temperature, you can form it into small rolls and allow them to chill. Once it's coated in breadcrumbs and fried to a golden brown, you can dig into your delicious meal!