Appetizer Recipes

Stuffed Mushrooms
Here goes another great and easy Holiday appetizer recipe. The stuffing is pretty much the same as for the Stuffed Artichokes recipe I posted last week, except the stems of the mushrooms are chopped up, sautéed with onion, and added to the stuffing.

Insalata Frutta di Mare
We like keep the choice of seafood simple for this cold seafood salad, but if you wanted to add more varieties you could replace 1 pound of the calamari with cooked lobster tails and/or scallops. Just cut the lobster tails in chunks and if the scallops are large cut them in half before adding to the bowl. This makes a great antipasto for a traditional all Fish Italian Christmas Eve dinner.

Clams Oreganato
Clams Oreganato. Baked Clams. Stuffed Clams. No matter what you call them, they are a great starter for your Christmas Eve fish dinner. It is very important that the stuffing stays moist and does not become dried out. If the bread crumb mixture feels too dry, you may have to add a little more oil, use your judgment.

Fried Calamari
Fried Calamari has become ubiquitous, I see people ordering it everywhere from pizza places, to the local sports bar alongside a plate of Buffalo Wings. It perturbs me to see the dish lowered down to the level of deep fried bar food. Sometime I even catch myself raising an eyebrow when I see it on the menu of a fine Italian restaurant, I have gotten so used to seeing it slumming. The fact of the matter is when it is made with care and quality ingredients, served with a good marinara sauce it is as far away from that greasy bar fare as you can get.

Caprese Salad
In Campania, Insalata Caprese is made with local fresh buffalo mozzarella, one of the culinary delights of the region. Here in America, buffalo mozzarella is very hard to find so we substitute good quality cow’s milk mozzarella, called fior di latte in Italy. Even if you can find imported Mozzarella di Bufala in a specialty store, you are better off with good fresh cow’s milk mozzarella from a deli or cheese maker you trust, because buffalo mozzarella is best eaten as soon after it is made as possible and does not travel well.

 

Stuffed Artichokes
As a young child I was a very finicky eater. If I didn’t like the way something looked I would refuse to eat it. Stuffed Artichokes is one of the dishes my Mom would make that I would not touch. All I can say now is I am glad that you grow out of some things.

 

Baked Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto
This recipe is best made with thick asparagus spears; however if all you can find are thin ones, wrap 2-3 spears in each slice of prosciutto. This dish can be served as an appetizer or a side dish. Regardless of the course served with, it always draws praise from my dinner guests.

Clams and Mussels Posillipo
You don’t see mussels and/or clams Posillipo on too many menus anymore, which is really a shame because it is a great dish. Foodie “purists” will claim that dishes such as this are not really Italian but Italian-American inventions. I am pretty sure that in Naples, which Posillipo is a neighborhood in, you will find fish in a similar light tomato sauce. Just because they don’t call it Posillipo doesn’t mean that it is a different animal. People get too caught up in semantics sometimes, when they should just be enjoying good food.