Banderillas or pickles on skewers are one of the most popular, tradicional and classic tapas of Spain. They take their name from the Spanish bullfighter’s spear. You’ll find them accompanying wine or beer at bars all over the country.
Banderillas are a combination of pickled or brined vegetables on a skewer. A typical banderilla might include cocktail onions, gherkins (whole or sliced), various sorts of peppers (both piquant and mild) and, almost always, a pitted olive. Many banderillas also include pickled or brined fish. Anchovies are the most common, both cured and pickled.
There is no fixed number or combination of ingredientes, so many different types of banderillas can be found in Spain. From the simplest of all, made of a pitted green olive wrapped in a pickled anchovie, to the more sofisticated types like the one we present to you today which includes a cocktail onion, a chilli pepper, a piece of roasted red pepper, a pitted green olive, a cured anchovy and a piece of gherkin. Banderillas hold the real taste of Spain. Care to make some with our recipe?
- 10 cocktail onions
- 4 pickled green chilli peppers
- ½ roasted red pepper (peeled and seedless)
- 10 cured anchovies
- 4 gherkins
- 10 Manzanilla pitted olives
- 10 wooden skewers (8 cm long, aprox)
- Drain all the ingredients of the brine or oil they come in their tins or jars.
- Cut the pepper in stips, then in squares.
- Cut the gherkins in 1 cm pieces.
- Roll the anchovies to form a spiral.
- Remove the stems of the chilli peppers and cut them in 1 cm pieces.
- Thread all of the ingredients onto wooden skewers, alternating them as you please, with one piece of each on each skewer.
- Serve inmediately.
Tips for perfect banderillas or pickles on skewers
- Good quality ingredientes are paramount in such simple recipe. Use the best pickles you can find as this will make a real difference in this tapa.
- For vegetarian banderillas, leave the anchovies out and use the rest of the ingredientes. Easy peasy.
- Feel free to combine the ingredients as you like, but make sure not to repeat them in the same skewer. You may love olives (so we also do), but a skewer full of the is not a good idea. Let flavours mix for a more enjoyable experience.
- Banderillas have a powerful taste that can be softened by drizzling them with a little oil. As always, we strongly advise to use a good quality Spanish virgin olive oil if you can get hold of it.
Have banderillas or pickles on skewers cold and freshly done whenever possible. Accompany them with a glass of good chilled Spanish white wine or a cold beer and be prepared for an explosion of flavours that will leave your palat wanting more and more and more.