Throwing a tapas party can be much easier than you might expect.

Throwing a tapas party can be much easier than you might expect.

The core ingredients for a Spanish small-plates theme may already be in your pantry or fridge: olives, almonds, tuna, olive oil, anchovies and bread.

Don't cringe about the anchovies, by the way. If you're using the classic flat-can version, you can greatly reduce the brininess by soaking them and patting them dry. Even better, seek out the refrigerated-pack white anchovies now available at better seafood counters.

You can also up the authenticity quotient of your tapas by finding Spanish imports, such as jarred tuna, Marcona almonds and Manzanilla olives. If you're browsing the olive bar at your supermarket, Peppadew peppers — while not Spanish — are perfect for recipes such as Peppers Stuffed With Tuna.

A little plate of almonds and marinated olives is a tapas staple. If your almonds aren't already prepared, fry them in a little olive oil and sprinkle them with salt.

Serve the peppers and the almond-olive plate with some quick-to-prepare toasts, and you've got a tapas party that takes less than an hour to put together. For another instant choice, cube Manchego cheese and the quince paste called membrillo and put one cube of each on a toothpick.

And if you're serving wine, extend the theme by offering out-of-the-ordinary choices such as albarino, monastrell or a sparkling cava.