Category Archives: Appetizer Recipes

Appetizer Recipes

Tomatoes everywhere!

July 22, 2013

Blog tomatoes 1

This year we are really lucky with our crop of tomatoes! We planted them into the soil this spring in two week intervals where during this gap, in May we experienced the last thunderstorms and the wind damaged some of them.  This event caused us to be afraid that we would  be without tomatoes this summer so we planted more. Beginning one month ago, we have been harvesting full boxes every week, different kinds. This small cherry tomatoes are my favorite,  kissed by the sun and sweet as strawberries. This time of year we have a lot off guests in the garden and  the favorite selection for antipasto in The Almond Bar is our Bruschetta Pantesca. The mix of the sweet tomatoes with the salty Capers are just divine, when served  with a glass of Prosecco you’ll  make someone happy!


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Bruschetta Pantesca
The recipe is for approximately 20 to 25  bite sized bruschetta (you might want to double the recipe for they disappear as fast as you make them!)

Initial preparations; preheat oven to 400F (200C), then place one, or two bottles of prosecco on ice!

20-25 small slices of Italian white bread
1 clove garlic (peeled)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pound (400-500 g) cherry tomatoes
1 Tablespoon Capperi di Pantelleria, rinsed and soaked
3 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 filets of anchovies in oil (drained)
2-3 teaspoons of Origano di Pantelleria
pinch of sugar to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle on top to finish:
1 teaspoon dried Origano di Pantelleria (dried oregano) which is harvested in June and use the teaspoon for the entire recipe not one Bruschetta

Rinse and divide the tomatoes, (core them if not using cherry tomatoes) and cut them into small dices.

Cut each anchovy in 5 parts mix together with tomatoes, oil, sugar, capers and basil .
Season with salt and pepper.Preheat the oven on 400 F (200 C) grades.

Slice bread into thin disks and brush a little olive oil on each bread slice place on a oven tray and toast until golden, about 5 min. When toasted remove from the oven and rub the toasted bread slices with the garlic clove just to provide the taste, then, set a side.

Just before serving, ad a spoon or two of the tomato mix on each bread slice,  sprinkle with some oregano. Next arrange on a platter. Set glasses and napkins out on the serving table along with the prosecco in a ice bucket pop the cork and start making people happy!

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Capperi di Pantelleria
Origano di Pantelleria
Dinnerplate from 

Caramelized red onion tart

June 29, 2013

At the beginning of March my friend Dallas gave me a bunch of his father’s onion plants. The other morning, four months later, we picked these lovely big red onions. Carlo made onion braids to hang in the kitchen and I made an onion tart.


Caramelized red onion tart
Serves 6 as appetizers or make bite sized pieces as a cocktail snack for 6 people
5 large red onions about (500 grams)
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup (0.6 dl) olive oil
1 bay leaf
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Origano di Pantelleria (oregano)
Salt and pepper
9-10 oz (275 grams) of puff pastry
12 black olives (preferably oven or sun dried)
2 Tablespoons of Capers from Pantelleria ( rinsed and drained)
6 anchovy filets
1 egg for brushing the pastry edges

Cut the onion in thin rings or slices, chop the garlic finely and saute in a hot skillet with the olive oil. When the onions have softened, add the balsamic vinegar, sugar, bay leaf and half of the oregano.
Let the onions simmer on lower heat so that the sugar will caramelize.
Season with salt and pepper

Cut the anchovies into smaller pieces.

Place the puff pastry on nonstick oven paper, spread the caramelized red onion mix. Add olives, capers and the pieces of anchovies and fold up an edge of the pastry and brush with the beaten egg.

Bake at 400 F (200 C) for about 10 min.
Sprinkle some extra Origano di Pantelleria (oregano) just before serving


My dear and beautiful friend Lisa is visiting from Sweden, so this week we celebrated with many aperitivo gatherings- hors d’oeuvres in the garden.
This recipe is a perfect cocktail snack or can be served as an appetizer.



Zucchini flowers!

June 6, 2013

The delicacy of fried zucchini flowers: those who have eaten them before love them, and those who have yet to try them can’t wait to fall in love with them. At the moment our zucchini plants are blooming, so now is the time to really enjoy them.


Harvesting the flowers must be done in the early morning when they are freshly open. As the sun grows stronger they close. By mid morning they have twisted themselves closed, making it difficult to fill them. If you are not an early riser, of course you can just brush them off, dip them into batter and fry and eat with a good salt like artisanal unrefined salt from Sale Natura, then it doesn’t matter if they’re closed. If you are like me, you will love filling them with some goodies like cheese, almonds, anchovies and oregano. Remember stuffing the flower is MUCH easier to complete when they are harvested while open.


Zucchini flowers with anchovies and oregano

20  large zucchini flowers
34-66 ounces (1 -2 liters ) of Extra Virgin olive oil ( frying medium)
(Make sure to choose a vessel /saucepan that has a thick bottom and sides that are high enough)
A baking sheet covered with paper towels or news paper for the flowers to drain upon after frying.
Tongs or a slotted spoon to turn the flowers over while frying and to remove them from the oil.
one clean dry pastry brush or brand new small soft paint brush

You can stuff the flowers with anything just make sure it doesn’t have a lot of liquid or oil in the content for the flower petal is very sensitive. Stuffed zucchini flowers is a great way to take leftovers and dress them up! Please omit the nuts from the filling below if you have nut allergies or if you are preparing the flowers to bring or serve at a gathering or party where you do not know if people are allergic to nuts.

30 raw almonds, coarsely chopped
1 good pinch pepperoncino (dried chile flakes)
7 ounces (200 grams) coarsely grated mozzarella
1.8 ounces ( 50 grams) coarsely grated Parmesan
20 basil leaves finely chiffonade (shredded)
2 pinches of dried oregano from Pantelleria
1 ounce (30 grams) of raw pine nuts
5 fillets of anchovies preserved in oil

5 Tablespoons all purpose flour (you can use a all purpose gluten free flour 1 to 1 exchange)
1/3 teaspoon baking soda or bicarbonate
10 Tablespoons soda water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

To serve
Salt flakes and fresh lemon wedges

Using the pastry or clean paint brush clean the exterior of the flowers.
Optional: next you can gently take out the pistil using a tweezer or carefully use your hand.
Mix all ingredients for the filling together in a bowl excluding the anchovies
Separately cut the anchovies fillets each in 4 equally sized pieces.
Holding the flower gently, fill the inside using a small spoon or your fingers, work gently and careful for avoid the flowers you want the flower to remain intact. Only fill the flower 3/4 full.
With your finger make a little hole where you place the piece of anchovy.

Fold and close the petals gently. Finish with a twist of the petals to make a tight seal. Place aside on a tray. Repeat the process until all the flowers are filled and ready to fry.


Mix flour, bicarbonate and  whisk together with the sodawater and olive oil until smooth (should have the consistence similar to a pancake batter). Let the batter rest while heating the oil. Pour your frying oil to heat. Brush the flowers one by one with the batter attempts to reinforce the closure of leaf and on top with a little batter. Fry the flower until golden, let drain shortly on paper towels.
Serve with salt flakes to sprinkle and some fresh lemon.


Carlo and Pino, having a break after working all day with making a new barbecue construction in the garden.







Artichokes with lemon and garlic

April 15, 2013

The season for artichokes is here!
I just love them. I cook them many different ways. This recipe is my best, and it’s very simple to make. There are several varieties of artichokes. If you can find baby artichokes, they don’t contain the choke and are more tender, so the preparation will be shorter. If you are using the larger varieties you will have to remove the beard, or the choke, the hairy internal area found just above the heart as well as all the tough outer leaves. Either way, all efforts related to artichoke preparations are always worth the effort. This dish is perfect as appetizer, antipasto or as an accompaniment to grilled fish or chicken.1-artichookes-CF024185


Artichokes with lemon and garlic
Serves 4
4 baby artichokes or 2 large artichokes
1 whole bulb of garlic
2 Tablespoons Kosher salt
1/4 cup (0.6 dl) lemon juice
1/4 cup ( 0.6 dl) olive oil

A few sprigs of fresh oregano,parsley or thyme

1 large pot 5 cup (1.18 liters) capacity or more with lid large enough to accommodate 3 cups (7 dl) water and 1 1/2 cup (3.5 dl) olive oil for cooking of the artichokes. Placed on a medium burner and bring to a boil.
Lemon wedges and fresh herbs for garnishing the platter.

Clove, peel and mince the garlic. Place the kosher salt on top of the garlic and using the side of your knife work the salt and garlic together into a paste. Remove the stems from the herbs and mince. In a bowl combine 1/4 cup (0.6 dl) of olive oil, all lemon juice with the herbs and garlic salt to make the artichoke rub.

Rinse and clean each artichoke. Remove any outer leaves which appear to be sad, dry or cracked particularly near the stem. Use a scissor to remove any tips of the out leaves that contain a thorn.

NOTE: Use only stainless steel knives or scissors when working with artichokes!
High carbon knives react chemically with artichokes, any artichoke surface they come into contact will turn black. If you are using baby artichokes cut the artichokes in half, should you be using the larger variety of artichokes, cut them in quarters. Remove the beard, the fuzzy hairs located just above the artichoke’s heart, this is easily down with a teaspoon. You need to work fast for artichokes oxidizes and change color. Lemon juice will help prevent this, so rub the whole artichokes thoroughly with the artichoke rub, and don’t forget to get in between the leaves.

Add artichokes into the pot that has water and olive oil boiling. Go ahead and toss any extra artichoke rub into the pot as well. Lower the heat to allow the artichokes to simmer. The liquid should just cover the artichokes, as a thumb rule, one part olive oil with 2 parts water. Let them simmer about 15-20 minutes, if you have the larger type of artichokes you probably will need more cooking time. To check if the artichoke is ready, pull a leaf close to the center, if the leaf come off easily, it’s done. If not, cook more and check every 5 min, if you have the really big artichokes the cooking will be about 40 min. When it’s ready, let cool slightly in the broth, eat them lukewarm or cooled.

To serve, choose a high lipped or edged platter. Arrange the artichokes in the center of the platter and drizzle some of that beautiful broth over the artichokes. Garnish with fresh herbs and lemon wedges. Serve with bread to soak up the good broth.4 artichookes-CF070675


Wild asparagus canapés

March 8, 2013

obesk-CF066754I can feel the spring in Pantelleria approaching. One of the lovely things with spring is the wild asparagus. Yesterday we went looking for them and found plenty- enough to make a big tray of these asparagus parmesan cheese canapés. This recipe is original from a cookbook ” Snittar”  which in English means “Canapés”. My dear companion and friend Hedvig von Mentzer and I created and published this book in Sweden in 2003. Today it’s International Women’s Day. What could be a better occasion to invite friends for some Prosecco and canapés?
Let’s toast and acknowledge women all over the globe.



Asparagus and parmesan cream canapés
Makes about 30 canapés

10 oz (275 grams) refrigerated puff pastry sheets
1 egg (to brush the puff pastry with)
1 Tablespoon water

6 oz (170 grams) grated Parmesan cheese
2 shallots
1 clove of garlic
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup (1.2 dl) white wine
3/4 cups (1.8 dl) heavy cream
2 sprigs of thyme crushed
Salt and grounded white pepper to taste

30 asparagus
Ice cubes


Preheat the oven to 400 F (200C) degrees.
Cut the sheet of puff pastry into 2 inch squares (bite sized).
Place the squares on a non stick baking sheet and on to the oven trays.
Whisk the egg and 2 Tablespoons of water together in a bowl, then, brush the top of each puff pastry square. Bake the squares in the oven for about 8-10 min. They should puff and be golden brown.
Remove from the oven and tray to a plate and allow them to cool to the touch.

Grate the Parmesan cheese. Finely chop the shallots and garlic.
Heat a saute pan, add olive oil then the chopped shallots and garlic saute until soft.
Add the wine, cook until the liquid is reduced to half.
Lower the fire and add heavy cream stir quickly, add the Parmesan cheese, make sure to stir the bottom on the pan to avoid burning. When the cheese has combined together with the cream it will thickened a bit. Make sure to taste the cream prior to seasoning, the Parmesan imparts some saltiness to the cream so taste the sauce as to adjust the salt amount. Season with crushed thyme, salt and white pepper, set a side.

In a separate pot boil water to cook the asparagus, add salt to the water as you would when cooking pasta. Fill a bowl with cold water and ice cubes, this you have prepared on the side to immediately put the asparagus in after boiled using a slotted spoon. Boil the asparagus between 2-4 minutes and place immediately in the ice water bowl using a slotted spoon.

The time for asparagus will vary according to the size and freshness of your asparagus,
I would say between 2-4 minutes. I would  make a test by placing only two or three into the water and watch them as they are boiling. Remove them, cool and feel the texture, once you understand proceed with the rest. The asparagus should be bright green and not too cooked you would want it to remain a little “al dente” texture.  After cooling down, cut the top buds off (use the left over for example a salad or omelet).

Prior to serving, build the canapes :
Spread on top of each puff pastry square , one full teaspoon Parmesan cream,
next place one asparagus bud on the top.

Style: "Neutral"

Rosemary in bloom

January 21, 2013

It’s winter and the Rosemary, which grows wild in Pantelleria, is in full bloom. With it’s small blue flowers rosemary is my favorite herb and it’s aroma accompanies me during my walks in the mountains. Someone once told me that rosemary is good for the memory but I’m afraid I haven’t noticed that effect on me… As many of you already know, rosemary also goes fantastic with goat cheese and nuts. Here is a flavorsome recipe for crostinis with goat cheese, pears, pine nuts and wild rosemary.
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Pear and goat cheese crostinis

Makes 8 crostinis
8 tablespoons olive oil
8 slices white bread such as a french baguette style
1 pear
Sea salt (I used Maldon)
7 oz (200 grams) of goat cheese
1 large sprig of rosemary
Ground black pepper

Cut the pear in 8 slices and remove the seeds and hard parts.
Sauté the pear slices lightly in oil using a griddle or a skillet. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt flakes over the pears.
Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet, set a side.
On the crostini: spread a thick layer of goat cheese, top with a pear slice, a cluster of pine nuts and garnish with a rosemary sprig. Finish of with some ground black pepperpear and goatcheese-CF008689


Fall and the scent of Paris

November 27, 2012

chestnut tree-CF050008The scent of roasted chestnuts always makes me think of the first winter I lived in Paris. I was 20 years old, a student, and it was the first time that I lived abroad.
Paris was in every way magnificent- the food, the people, the cafés and restaurants, the art museums, and, of course, the clubs where went dancing. At that time Le Bains was the number one place to go, and we didn´t miss many nights.

I also recall the joy of just walking the streets, taking in all of the Parisian atmosphere and that scent of roasted chestnuts that were sold on the street corners. That winter my two friends and I shared an apartment on Rue des Archives in the quartiere Le Marais. We were poor but thrilled by all the adventures that our new city had to offer.

Now when the chestnut season arrives I want to roast them and eat them with butter and salt as an appetizer or as a night snack in front of the fireplace with a glass of red wine.

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Oven roasted chestnuts
Serves 4

50-60 chestnuts
1 lbl (450 grams) of coarse salt

Preheat the oven at 425F ( 225 C).Cut a large cross about 1/8-inch deep through each chestnut shell, just into the flesh of the nut.Spread out an even layer with the coarse salt on an oven tray and place the chestnuts facing with the cross up. Bake the chestnut for about 25 minutes.Serve with butter and salt or make a thyme and lemon butter that will go excellent with your roasted chestnuts.

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Lemon and thyme butter
2 shallots
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of white wine
7 ounces (200 grams) of butter (at room temperature or softened)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme sprigs or dried
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon peel
salt and pepper


Chop the shallots finely and brush them in a small saucepan with the olive oil, until they are soft and golden. Add the wine and cook for another minute.
Pour the shallots in with the soft butter and beat the butter airy by using a hand whisk. Then add the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper as desired.


November 8, 2012

Caponata is a traditional Sicilian course.
The recipes vary but should contain eggplant, celery and have a sweet and sourness. In some parts of Sicily seafood is included. The ingredients I used for this Caponata are all local products from the island of Pantelleria. Serve the Caponata as an antipasto with bread, or as a side course to go with fish or meat. The Caponata can be saved in the fridge for up to 7 days.caponata-CF008660

1/2 cup (1.2 dl) olive oil
3 aubergine, cut in large chunks
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 large red onion, peeled and chopped in bigger pieces
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 celery stalks, cut in pieces
8 large ripe tomatoes, cut in pieces and remove the seeds
2 tablespoons capers from Pantelleria (rinsed, soaked and drained)
1/2 cup (1.2 dl) of black olives (preferably sun or oven dried)
4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 cup (1.2 dl) of almonds (dry toasted and chopped in the pan)
5 tablespoons of tomato puree or concentrate
Sea salt and fresh black pepper
Optional:1 table spoon of fresh parsley to serve

Use a large pan pour some olive oil, and place on the heat. Add the aubergine chunks and oregano, season with a little salt and toss around so the aubergine is evenly coated by the oil. Cook on a high heat until the aubergines are golden, then add the onion, garlic and celery stalks and continue cooking for another couple of minutes. Add a more oil to the pan when it’s getting dry. Throw in the drained capers, olives, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 20 minutes or until its tender. At last stir in the toasted almonds.Taste and season if you need with more salt, pepper, vinegar or sugar. Serve the Caponata room temperature sprinkled with almonds and parsley.

Dinner plate Anthropologie
Capperi di Pantelleria
Origano di Pantelleria