5@5 - Tailgating tapas
October 28th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Tailgating menus tend to err on the side of chicken wings, hamburgers and hot dogs. All are delicious in their own right; however, with the professional football season lasting 17 weeks, the normal culinary playbook can get real old real fast.

Enter 'Iron Chef' Jose Garces, the executive chef of Mercat a la Planxa and owner of Philadelphia's wildly successful Garces Restaurant Group, with his unlikely pregame feast.

Five Tailgating Tapas: Jose Garces

1. "Spanish tapas can be easily made ahead of time to make game day bites a cinch. One of those simple recipes is shrimp and chorizo brochettes, or skewers. Just assemble cooked shrimp, Spanish chorizo and your favorite vegetable on a bamboo skewer and pull out of the fridge at game time!"

2. "Escalivada, or a fire-roasted vegetable and bread salad, can be easily prepared on the grill during a tailgating party. Coat my favorite vegetable combination of Roma tomatoes, red bell peppers, eggplant and cipollini onions with olive oil, throw them on the grill and serve with fresh crumbled goat cheese, extra virgin olive oil and grilled bread."

3. "Spanish gazpacho isn’t only a light snack. Best prepared ahead of time to marinate, it can also double as the base for a great Sunday football Bloody Mary!

Set out a traditional Bloody Mary mix or try something different, like a saffron-infused yellow tomato gazpacho for a colorful display.

To make, heat olive oil in a saucepan and add saffron until fragrant. Blend yellow tomatoes (cored, quartered), garlic, sherry vinegar, stale bread (crust removed), cucumber, mineral water, salt and sugar until smooth. Drizzle in bloomed saffron and oil until it’s well incorporated and chill."

4. Set out a montaditos, or grilled bread bar. Brush several pieces of bread with olive oil and throw on the grill. Serve with a colorful array of toppings.

To try a braised short rib and horseradish cream montadito, warm pulled short rib in its own jus as you brush focaccia bread with garlic oil and grill. Then, spread horseradish-infused cream evenly onto the focaccia, add shredded Manchego cheese and warm in oven until the cheese begins to melt. Top with short ribs and grate fresh horseradish on top."

Slow-Cooked Short Ribs


  • 1 pound boneless short ribs, fat and sinew removed
  • 1 tablespoonbrown sugar
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1 cinammon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 7 thyme sprigs (5 springs picked and chopped; 2 whole)
  • 1 rosemary sprig (1/2 sprig picked and chopped; 1/2 sprig whole)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled (1 chopped; 1 crushed)
  • 1 Spanish onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, peeled cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 quarts beef stock or water
  • 4 ounces canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

Cooking Directions

  1. Place cinnamon stick, star anise, black peppercorns, brown sugar and kosher salt in a spice mill and grind into a fine powder. To this mixture, add the chopped thyme, chopped rosemary and chopped garlic. Season short ribs heavily with this mixture and place in a shallow pan or dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or for up to 12 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
  3. Heat 2 oz. of canola oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Brush excess spice mixture off of the short ribs and sear in the pan until evenly browned on all sides. Remove short ribs and place on a resting rack. Drain oil, and place pan back on stove. Add the remaining canola oil. When oil begins to smoke add onions and carrot. Cook vegetables for 10 minutes, stirring to insure vegetables brown but do not burn. Once vegetables have browned (not burnt) add short ribs back into the pan. Cover short ribs with beef broth (or water). Cover with foil. Cook in oven for 2 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and store in liquid.

5. "Bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with Marcona almonds are always a hit. When choosing your ingredients, make sure the almonds fit into the pitted date. Wrap with smoked bacon, secure with a bamboo skewer cook on the grill until bacon is crispy. To add an extra touch, top with a blue cheese sauce. Salud!"

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Events • Rituals • Sports • Tailgating • Think

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Brennan Cronin

    This food ideas. I will keep this in mind for my next party. Coming real soon at RIC!

    May 31, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Brennan Cronin


      May 31, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
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