Tasting Table's June 2012 Menu

Spain reigns at the dinner table

Chefs across the States are digging deeply into the nuances of Spanish cuisine.

So why not bring the Spanish way–simple ingredients and breezy dining–home?

This month's dinner party gathers together four friends for a casual meal. The setting: a table set stylishly with patterned plateware that stunningly highlights the Moorish influences of southern Spain.

To begin: Simple skewers created from high-end canned Spanish staples like white asparagus, olives and roasted peppers are an effortless starter. The bites pair superbly with a self-serve white-port punch loaded with early-season peaches and effervescent with Spanish sparkling wine.

Then it's on to a creamy white gazpacho made with almonds and grapes, and finger-friendly shrimp a la plancha served over toast slicked with saffron aioli. On the side is a delightfully pungent olive, chorizo and blue cheese salad.

Save the dishwashing for later, and instead spoon up apricots roasted in fortified wine and served with Marcona almonds, thick cream and a drizzle of honey. Sit back with your guests, restart the special playlist and let the evening drift by.

The meal starts with a white gazpacho finished with a fruity olive oil.

White hydrangeas and patterned Pottery Barn plates are offset by bright yellow dishes.

Grilled shrimp and saffron allioli dial up the flavor of the meal.

A port punch with peaches and mint is a light and refreshing start to the meal.

Cold skewers are a simple and elegant appetizer for cocktail hour.

The Spanish flavors of an olive-and-chorizo salad mix well with shrimp and crispy saffron toasts.

Sweet roasted apricots with thick cream and Marcona almonds finish off the spread on a light note.