The word tapas usually refers to a variety of appetizers or small plates that are served in Spain at tapas bars, cafes, and restaurants, or they can be in the style of Spain but served in any country. For the purposes of this book, however, tapas refers to many different styles of cuisine served in appetizer portions. In some cases there are family-style portions, served on one platter for individuals to help themselves. There are traditional Spanish tapas for the purist, and modern Spanish tapas where flavors from other cuisines are used to make traditional tapas, such as Welsh Rarebit Croquettes.
The portion sizes are smaller than ordinary recipes, since tapas are meant to be served with a lot of other tapas. So if a recipe “serves 4,” and there are a total of 12 finished hors d'oeuvres, that means you should make about five separate recipes that serve four people to mix and match if you intend to feed them satisfactorily. And portion sizes of recipes like paella, rice, or soup are smaller than they would be if you were to rely on the recipe as an entrée. Basically, tapas in this book are designed to be part of a tasting menu of a variety of different recipes. Keep that in mind if you want to feed four people for dinner.
There are also recipes for drinks, including sangria, and for sweets that can be served at the end or combined to form a tapas dessert menu. So don't be surprised when you find a recipe for something that wouldn't be found in the realm of tapas in the traditional sense, such as muffins, because it can be part of your tapas repertoire if you choose.