José Pizarro: How to make the perfect tapas spread in under 30 minutes

José Pizarro has lived in London for more than 20 years, and runs some of the capital’s most iconic Spanish restaurants.

<p>Famous Spanish chef José Pizarro’s presa. Credit: Pizarro</p>

Famous Spanish chef José Pizarro’s presa. Credit: Pizarro

Ah Spain: gin and tonics, Anton Guadi’s mind boggling architecture, flamenco, fiestas and more delicious food that you can shake a stick at.

Whether you’ve enjoyed bar hopping on balmy Barcelona nights or simply sipping an ice-cold Estrella, chances are you have some great memories associated with Spanish culture.

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On the 12 October every year, Spaniards celebrate Dia de la Hispanidad (Spanish Day) with enormous feasts, parades and parties (naturally).

Jose Pizarro outside Jose, his iconic tapas bar in Bermondsey. Credit: Jose

Channel a little Spanish culture by making your own tapas spread with help from London’s tapas maestro, José Pizarro.

When he opened his first restaurant in Bermondsey in 2011, London’s Spanish food scene was about as exciting as a hummus and crudite canape.

However, he quickly won Londoners’ hearts – and stomachs – with his vivacious personality and soulful food inspired by his childhood on a farm in the tiny village of Talaván, Extremadura.

Pizarro now has three successful restaurants across the city, which he has called his home for more than 20 years.

“I love the way Londoners have embraced this chilled out way of eating and drinking,” he says.

Not sure if your kitchen skills are up to the challenge?

“It’s all about big flavours and keeping things simple,” according to Pizarro.

“What you’ve got to remember is that tapas is all about simple, flavoursome bites.

“Tapas are designed to be enjoyed with a drink before the main meal later on in the day or evening.

“A tapa literally means ‘lid’ and is a throwback to the sort of dish that would be served on top or next to a cold beer or a glass of fino sherry.”

So we guess you can think of tapas a little like a bag of peanuts in the pub … but far, far nicer.

Here’s how to make your own in just 30-minutes.

Jamon Iberico, one of Jose Pizarro’s top tips for easy tapas. Credit: Jose

José Pizarro’s simple tapas spread

  • A plate of good quality slices of jamón Ibérico such as Cinco Jotas.
  • Some toasted bread, rubbed with garlic and topped with tomatoes, olive oil and salt.
  • A few slices of good Spanish cheese such as Monte Enebro.
  • A softly gooey tortilla made with little slices of potato, plenty of caramelised onions, olive oil and salt.
  • Ensalada Rusa – a gorgeous mix of potatoes, carrots, peas, mayonnaise and capers topped off with slices of tinned tuna belly. My favourite brand is Ortiz but you can find good quality tins even in Waitrose nowadays.