I really had to do a post on such a discussed topic. Now that it's Summer time we try to keep meals simple and fresh but also easy to make. Food packed with flavor that doesn't take hours to cook or requires you to make a mess out of your kitchen!
Most people look for appetizers that they can have ready when friends and family come over. Usually finger food or simple things that can be carried around on a small pate and handled without much care. That's why I wrote this post. It's the most simple thing to do if you have this in mind: keep it simple! Simple and wholesome ingredients are everything you need, just had some creativity and there you have it: gourmet appetizers that look amazing and that are made in a flash!
I'll give you 4 examples and then all you have to do is try them for yourself and create variations around it: change some of the base ingredients and come up with new flavor combos that suit your family's preferences.
Mediterranean toasted bread
If you want to skip the burger and go for a lighter version you have to try this! It's scrumptious and yet so easy to make. Just get the best ingredients you can find, preferably organic, and you're off to a perfect meal!
For the bread you see in the picture I used a traditional bread from the island of Madeira (Portugal), called "Bolo do Caco". It has a distinct texture and it tastes great if toasted for a little while. You can use any kind of soft but artisanal bread, it's perfectly fine.
Toast the bread on the toaster or on the grill. It gives it a deeper flavor if you can do it on the grill. Brush the bread with olive oil and then use a garlic clove (without the peel) to brush the bread to give it that hint of garlicky flavor. Arrange a slice or two of prosciutto on top of the bread and then cover it with basil leaves, halved cherry tomatoes and olives. Sprinkle it with some good quality Feta cheese. To top it off and give it an extra boost i used some dolops of chilli jam.
Just enjoy and share this recipe with your friends, you won't be sorry!
Bacon wrapped asparagus
My husband and I LOVE asparagus! Now that I find them at a reasonable price I'm baking them and grilling all the time. It's a great healthy adding to your meals and it really has a distinct flavor you can find anywhere else. The simplest solution ever: just wrap 3-4 asparagus (depending on the size) on a thick slice of bacon and roast in the oven at 400 F for about 15 minutes. Be on the lookout because time can vary depending on the oven.
I like to drizzle some glazed balsamic vinegar right at the end, before serving. That thick texture and bold flavor of the vinegar matches perfectly with the saltiness of the bacon and the creaminess of the asparagus!
Cherry tomatoes, baby mozzarella and Kalamata olives skewers
Do you imagine how simple this is? I served these skewers at a recent get together at my house and everyone love them. It doesn't get easier than this. Get some cherry tomatoes washed, baby mozzarella cheese (marinated with olive oil with some chili and herbs, to grab the flavor for about 2 hours), Kalamata olives (pitted is the best option because it saves you a lot of time and they will be in a perfect shape) and basil leaves.
Just start building your skewers with a mozzarella cheese, basil leave, cherry tomato, Kalamata olive and finish with another tomato. Just make sure that you get small cherry tomatoes because you'll want to choose bite sized tomatoes, not the big one. That would me a mess to eat!
Pitta with mushrooms, asparagus and pesto
This pittas are great as an appetizer or as a light meal with a fresh green salad on the side. They are pretty simple to make and just need 10 minutes in the oven, at 400 F. Arrange the pittas in a tray that can go to the oven and brush them with pesto; don't over do it. Pesto has a strong flavor so a little goes a long way!
After washing and cutting up the mushrooms (I try to buy organic, once again for the flavor and quality, but if you can't just use regular mushrooms) pat them dry and arrange them on top of the pitta. Put some washed asparagus on top and finish it with some prosciutto shavings. Get them in the oven and just enjoy that mix of flavors that is absolutely amazing!
The saltiness of the prosciutto and the mushrooms really go so well! I'm making these throughout the summer!
I hope you enjoyed these suggestions and that you're able to try them at home. As I said, they are easy, quick and believe me when I say that your guests will leave wanting some more!