Box clever: tapas

Categories: Expert guidance

Healthy, good value desk lunches don’t have to be repetitive and uninspiring. Borough Market blogger Victoria Brown offers her tips for easy, delicious and internationally inspired packed lunches. This month: tapas

Something about tapas says summer to me; all of my memories of Spain are sun drenched. I lived in Andalucia for six months in my early 20s and fell in love with many aspects of the culture, but particularly their way of eating and drinking. In Spain, a plate of tapas is as much a part of a good night out as a pint of lager. You rarely find one without the other.

Tortilla (Spanish omelette) is a staple of pretty much any tapas bar in Spain, though how they are made differs widely. In Andalucia they tend to be huge, firm and cake-like and served in slices or little squares. In the north I’ve come to love the small individual portions with gooey centres.

The essential ingredient, apart from egg of course, is potato. Other details, like which potatoes to use, how to cut and cook them and whether to use onion and/or garlic, are fiercely debated. My choices are made easy here by the fact that this tortilla must be desk-friendly. That means no garlic, sadly, and you have to cook it reasonably firm if you aren’t planning to eat it straight away.

Flipping a tortilla is not easy—in Spain many people have a special lid for this. I make do with a plate, but I must admit I often end up with as much egg on the floor as in the pan. If you’re too nervous to try this, just finish it off under the grill.

The other tapas can be mixed and matched as you wish. The baby chorizo is quick and easy to cook, as are the padron peppers. If you have a bit more time, go for the oven-roasted bell peppers instead; the sweet and salty contrast of peppers and anchovies goes particularly well with the tortilla and they are better cold than the padron.

Read Victoria’s tapas recipes here