A tapenade is an olive spread that can instantly add depth to dinners or appetizers. Look for tapenades near the pickles and jarred roasted peppers in your supermarket; some may also be in the refrigerated section. A good quality tapenade will contain black or green olives, or a combination, with capers, garlic, olive oil, and herbs.
QUICK IDEAS FOR TAPENADE
1. Toss with croutons and use as a stuffing for baked tomatoes.
2. Stir a spoonful into rice.
3. Brush on chicken cutlets; roll, skewer, and grill.
4. Mix with chopped tuna and lemon juice for a twist on tuna salad.
5. Spread on ham or turkey sandwiches.
Prosciutto and Gruyere Pinwheels
(Makes about 24-30 depending on how thick you cut them)
1 sheet puff pastry (half of 17 ounce package), thawed
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or parsley
3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 egg, beaten (for glaze)
Cut puff pastry sheet in half, forming two 9-1/2 x 5-inch rectangles. Arrange prosciutto over pastry, leaving 1/2-inch border along one long side. Sprinkle with basil and then evenly top with the cheese. Brush plain border with egg glaze. Refrigerate remaining glaze. Starting at long side opposite border, roll up pastry jelly-roll style. Press gently to seal long edges. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Brush logs with egg glaze. Cut logs crosswise into 1/2-inch thick rounds.
Arrange rounds on baking sheets. Bake until pastries are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.
Fried Artichoke Hearts - "Carciofi Fritti"
(About 4 servings)
1 eggplant, sliced 1/4 -inch thick
2 ounces mortadella, sliced thin
2 ounces provolone cheese, sliced thin
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Cut the mortadella and provolone to fit on the slices of eggplant. Sandwich one slice of mortadella and one slice of provolone between 2 eggplant slices. Press down so that the filling clings to the eggplant. Beat the eggs and place in a dish. Combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and parsley in another dish. Dip the sandwiches in the eggs and then the breadcrumb mixture. Coat both sides as well as the edges of the sandwiches. Drizzle a little olive oil on both sides of the sandwiches and place on a baking sheet. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 35 minutes or until crispy-brown. Turn them once during the baking time. Cut into wedges and serve hot or at room temperature.
1 (9 to 10 ounce) box frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup dried bread crumbs
Olive oil or canola oil for frying
Optional: Lemon wedges or tomato sauce for dipping
Pat artichoke hearts dry with paper towels. Beat the egg in a small bowl.
In another bowl, combine the cheese and bread crumbs.
In a large skillet, heat 1/2 inch of oil over medium-high heat. Dip each heart in the egg and then roll in the bread crumbs. Add them to the hot oil, one at a time, without crowding. Turn as necessary until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Serve with lemon wedges or tomato sauce for dipping.
(Makes 24 (4-inch) wafers)
9 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Combine the two ingredients. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.
Sprinkle a heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture onto the skillet. Press mixture down to form a flattened circle. Cook 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, until cheese is melted but flexible. Turn and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute more. Transfer frico to a paper towel to cool. Best eaten within hours but they can be stored
Garlic Garbanzo Dip
2 heads of garlic
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley
Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Wrap garlic in foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Squeeze garlic cloves into a food processor. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. If too thick for dipping, add 1-2 tablespoons water. Can be refrigerated for 2-3 days.
Mozzarella en Carrozza
(Makes 32 pieces)
Mozzarella en Carrozza (mozzarella in a carriage) is basically a cheese
sandwich made with mozzarella cheese. The traditional recipe contains only
the cheese between 2 slices of bread. You can add other ingredients, if you
wish. Serve the mini sandwiches as an appetizer or light lunch with the
traditional anchovy sauce or marinara sauce.
16 slices white bread
1 pound fresh mozzarella
1/2 cup flour
4 eggs, beaten
Ham, prosciutto, sliced olives, roasted peppers, tomatoes, basil (optional)
Trim the crusts from the slices of bread. Cut the mozzarella into 16 slices.
Put 2 slices of cheese between 2 slices of bread. Cut the sandwiches into quarters diagonally. Dredge the sandwiches in the flour and dip them in the beaten eggs. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Place the skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, begin to add the sandwiches to the skillet in batches. Fry them on both sides until golden brown. Add more oil as needed between batches. Transfer the cooked sandwiches to a paper-towel lined plate. Serve with Anchovy and Caper Sauce or marinara sauce.
Anchovy and Caper Sauce
(Makes 1 cup)
This is the traditional sauce served with Mozzarella en Carrozza.
It also makes a nice sauce for pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine.
It may also be used as a dip for bread or vegetables.
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves
4 anchovy fillets, chopped
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
4 tablespoons butter
Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, allow it to turn golden brown, and then discard the garlic. Add the anchovies and stir until dissolved into the oil. Add the lemon juice, capers, butter, and parsley.
Heat until the butter melts; remove from the heat.
Prosciutto and Gruyere Pinwheels
Mini skillet pizzas make delicious appetizers. Simply roll out the dough to about a 1/4-inch thickness and use a 3 or 4-inch biscuit cutter to cut out the pizza rounds. Proceed with the same directions as for a large skillet pizza.
Easily strips, collects and measures herbs
The perfect tool for preparing fresh purees, sauces, soups and more.
Designed to grate more cheese in less time, while being more comfortable to use.
Perfect for getting consistently thin and even slices every time
If you're short on space you can still entertain big by setting up mini buffets throughout your house. Find 3 great locations in your house to serve each item on your menu. Serve eggs on a kitchen island, pancakes on a table near your Christmas tree, and drinks on a rolling cart tucked into a corner. This will keep guests moving from one place to the next and mingling with others along the way.