Hello hounds! I'm a longtime lurker but this is my first post. I'm having a tapas party over the weekend and could use some help with planning, advice with the menu, etc. Here's what I'm considering so far (though this may well need to be whittled down!), with some questions interspersed:
-tortilla Espanola: This can be made ahead and served cold or room temp, right? I've always just had it by itself, but should it be served with a sauce (e.g. aioli or romesco)?
-pastéis de bacalhau (codfish fritters): Obviously these will need to be fried at the last minute, but can the batter be prepared in advance?
-lamb meatballs: Found a recipe on Chowhound (courtesy of MMRuth). How far in advance can these be prepared?
-pan tomate: I just tried making these last night and they were delicious! Must they be served warm/freshly toasted, or can they be assembled ahead of time?
-chickpea & spinach stew: I found a recipe here (attributed to The New Spanish Table) that uses frozen spinach. I always use fresh, but it would be much easier and less time-consuming to use frozen. I assume with all the spices the difference in the end result will be negligible. Thoughts?
-mushrooms w/ garlic & sherry
-deviled eggs w/ Spanish paprika
-bacon wrapped dates and/or goat cheese stuffed figs
-manchego & quince paste
-olives: I'm intrigued by this recipe (http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...), but thinking about just using the marinade... although I do have a jar of piquillo peppers and was not sure what to do with them.
-almonds: Given the cost of Marcona, I think I'll just put out a dish of regular roasted almonds.
I had also thought about: patatas bravas (but is that too much potato with the tortilla and cod fritters?), gazpacho, jamon serrano or chorizo, vegetables with romesco, or shrimp with garlic sauce. Re the latter, would frozen shrimp--say from TJ's or Fairway--be up to par?
Many of the dishes require Spanish paprika. I remember reading something in the NY Times mag recently about La Tienda's paprika, but I don't think I have time to order it. Would whatever brand is available locally (meaning at Sahadi's, for New Yorkers) be acceptable, or should I go to Penzey's? Also, there seem to be several varieties available. I was planning to buy both hot and sweet. Right?
Finally, I'd like to make both white and red sangria. Any recommendations for decent cheap wine to use, or any favorite recipes?
I greatly appreciate your feedback and suggestions!