Holiday Appetizers from Italy, Spain and the Good Old USA

Appetizer recipes, it seems, are one thing you can never have enough of during the holidays. Here are suggestions to help with your menu planning and entertaining. And, if you need something really simple … just toast slices of bread, rub them with garlic, and drizzle each with our robust Limited Reserve oil. You won’t be disappointed!

Goat Cheese with Spicy Tomato Sauce

This simple dish, in the photo above, is considered a classic in Italy’s northwest Piedmont region. The cheese is topped with a spicy tomato sauce that gets its heat from red pepper flakes. This dish comes from Joyce Goldstein’s cookbook, Antipasti (Chronicle Books, 2006). She suggests serving the cheese with warm toast or grilled bread. You could use our Everyday Fresh oil to make the sauce. (Click here to see the recipe.)

Dried Fig and Black Olive Spread

Marie Simmons, the award-winning cookbook author, created this spread, which combines dried figs, pitted Kalmata olives, crushed fennel seeds, fresh garlic, and grated orange zest. It all comes together with a good extra virgin olive oil. Marie recommends serving this spread on crostini – say with a little crumbled feta … or blue cheese. Alternatively, she suggests something we’ve done – and which is great: “Smear some into celery boats or red pepper wedges for a quick afternoon snack.” To give this dish an extra flavor kick, use our robust Miller’s Blend or Arbosana oils to make the spread. (Click here to see the recipe, which comes from our friends Valley Fig Growers.)

Zucchini Flatbread with Roasted Tomatoes and Pine Nuts

Photo courtesy of www.artisanbreadinfive.com

We like this flatbread’s festive red and green colors. The recipe originally appeared as a zucchini flatbread in a baking book Jeff Hertzberg co-authored, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day (St. Martin’s Press, 2009). Hertzberg tweaked the original recipe, which also featured chopped parsley, sliced scallions and pine nuts in addition to the shredded zucchini. “I wanted something to brighten up green things — roasted cherry tomatoes did the trick,” he says. Use our Everyday Fresh oil to prepare this dish, then give it a finishing drizzle of our Limited Reserve to kick up the flavor a notch. (Click here to see the recipe.)

Caponata

Caponata is known as “Italy’s answer to French ratatouille.” This sweet-and-sour condiment combines fried eggplant and other vegetables. It’s great on bruschetta. “Everybody has a slightly different recipe, but the version most recognizable to Americans is Sicilian, typically made with olives and capers, as well as vinegar and sugar to give it the familiar sweet-and-sour taste,” Anna Boiardi writes in her cookbook, Delicious Memories (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2011), where this recipe appears. Use our Everyday Fresh oil to prepare this dish. (Click here to see the recipe.)

Tapas Omelet

Give your appetizers a Spanish riff with this potato and onion tortilla. This dish is commonly thought to have originated in Spain’s Castile regions. It’s a “a tapas bar classic,” Joyce Goldstein writes in her book, Tapas: Sensational Small Plates from Spain (Chronicle Books, 2009), where the recipe appears. It’s sometimes “made with potatoes only, or with the addition of a little chorizo or ham and/or peppers.” For an added layer of flavor, give each slice a finishing drizzle of one of our robust oils: Arbosana, Limited Reserve and Miller’s Blend. (Click here to see the recipe.)

Bon appétit,

Your friends at California Olive Ranch