The Book of Tapas – Fried Green Asparagus with Garlic, Vinegar and Paprika

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This is a post that I have been wanting to share for quite some time.  I was recently given a copy of The Book of Tapas by Simone and Ines Ortega to review.

I was ecstatic to get my hands on a copy of this book!  Here’s why.  Simone Ortega is the original author of 1,080 Recetas De Cocina.  The definitive book on traditional and authentic Spanish home cooking.  It was first published in 1972 and has been a bestseller for nearly 40 years.  This is a book that every woman in Spain receives as a wedding gift.  My mother was no exception.  I grew up flipping through the pages of my mothers soft cover, beat up, thick cookbook.  My mami would pull out the fiction novel sized book and teach me the words that were written in it.  She would explain to me what the ingredients were and I would often hear, “this tastes wonderful but… you can’t find these ingredients here.”  I hated those words.  However, she would make substitutions as she saw fit and we always had a wonderful time together!

You can only imagine my excitement when in 2007, 1,080 Recetas De Cocina was translated into ENGLISH!!  This time, Simone collaborated with her daughter Ines.

I bought a book for both my mami and I.  I remember the day we received our books.  I bolted to my mami’s house and we both sat on the couch comparing the recipes from the English translation to her original copy in Spanish.  They stayed true to most of their recipes.  Some things they did cut out on as our times have changed but really, they’ve done a great job keeping the recipes traditional utilizing real ingredients.  This is definitely the book on Spanish cooking that should have a place on your bookshelf.  What I enjoy so much about it is that they call for ingredients like they were originally prepared.  Spaniards use backfat, lard, butter, salt, organ meats, all parts of the animals and you can find it all in this book!  This book also has an amazing list of vegetables with recipes as the Mediterranean diet is also about eating tons of veggies.  Usually cooked with some sort of fat, be it olive oil, lard or jamon!  Of course recipes for legumes can be found in this book as well.

So you now understand why I was so ecstatic to get my hands on the new book by Simone and Ines Ortega called The Book of Tapas!  Like 1,080 Recipes, this book stays true to Spanish traditional cooking!  It is filled with recipes and very much in line with their original book.  It makes a great companion book!  It’s filled with straight forward recipes and sections of images.  No extra words to introduce a recipe, no historical facts… just Spanish recipes.  These are my favorite books on Spanish cooking!

For this post I was able to create a recipe from the book called Fried Green Asparagus with Garlic, Vinegar and Paprika.  It turned out fabulous, however, I failed to use the amount of asparagus needed and ended up with more of a soup, lol!!  I should of halved the recipe.  Oh well… It still tasted great!


Fried Green Asparagus with Garlic, Vinegar and Paprika
Recipe from The Book of Tapas by Simone and Ines Ortega
Serves 6


  • 4 1/2lb (2kg) green asparagus, trimmed
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 slices bread, crusts removed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika
  • 3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • salt


  1. Cut the asparagus into 1 1/2 inch (4-cm) lengths. Heat the oil in a skillet or frying pan.  Add the bread and cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, for a few minutes, until golden brown on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.  Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, for a few minutes, until golden brown.  Transfer the garlic to a mortar, add the fried bread and pound with a pestle.
  2. Pour the oil from the skillet into a pan and heat it.  Add the asparagus and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the paprika, then pour in 2 cups (450ml 3/4 pint) hot water. Return the pan to a medium heat, cover and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until the asparagus spears are just tender.
  3. To finish, add the vinegar and a little of the asparagus cooking liquid to the mixture in the mortar and stir well, then stir into the pan containing the asparagus. Season with a little salt and cook for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve immediately.

Have a great week and here’s to traditional Spanish cooking!  Buen Provecho!  

9 Responses to "The Book of Tapas – Fried Green Asparagus with Garlic, Vinegar and Paprika"
  1. Belinda @zomppa says:

    Fried green…asparagus?? Another ingenious dish. Tapas are the way to eat.

  2. Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal says:

    Wow Diana, that sounds divine. I mean just by reading the recipe, I am drooling. I am sure, if I had that bowl with me, I will eat that up too…lol :)

  3. Fresh Local and Best says:

    I'm so glad to see this cookbook featured. I met a chef in New York who contributed to this book. Because the recipes can be so versatile, and nearly anything goes, she was asked, "When does a tapa no longer ceases to be a tapa?" She told us – when it gets too complicated, and then I instantly thought of Bar Jamon – uh-oh!

    Most of the recipes in this book is simple and can be put together very quickly. I look forward to seeing more of your experiences with this cookbook!

  4. Laura says:

    Oh my another book for my never ending wish list. :)

  5. Lori Lynn says:

    We are really getting into tapas around here. This recipe sounds great. I'll need this book for sure!

  6. 5 Star Foodie says:

    I love the idea of fried green asparagus, a must try for sure!

  7. Subhashini says:

    First time in your blog.Have very lovely space and unique collection of recipes.Would love to follow you.

  8. I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly. I am quite certain I’ll learn lots of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

  9. I love the jewels that can be found in old post! :) I’ve been dreaming of tapas and I figured I could find a few here. My mom is going to love both of those books!

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