I have a general rule of thumb about my appetizers: they have to be simple. I am not good at making miniature food or anything too complicated. And, I find that the simplest things are always the freshest foods. These appetizers can all be bought at the farmer’s market or, my second home, Paul’s Fruit Market.
Before you read on, some of you are going to cringe when you read my appetizers. You are conjuring up images of foods your mother made you eat “because people are starving in (insert Third World country here).” I am here to make new memories of these foods for you.
The culprits are: Brussels Sprouts, Beets and Tomatoes
Is anyone left standing, or reading for that matter? On my honor, I promise you these are delicious. You will have no leftovers. My children even eat them. Enjoy!
Bam! Brussels Sprouts
- Fresh Brussels Sprouts (DO NOT BUY FROZEN OR CANNED, EVER EVER EVER)
- Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt/Pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash all sprouts thoroughly and remove any dead or discolored outer leaves.
Cut ends off sprouts and then cut in half. Place on rimmed baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with kosher salt and pepper and toss with tongs until coated. Roast sprouts for 25-30 minutes, or until tender.
Place on pretty platter and serve with a side of hot sauce for dipping. I recommend Sriracha or Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (I am obsessed with hot sauce, and that is a post for another time). You can also drizzle hot sauce over sprouts in their last five minutes of cooking for extra heat.
Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese bites
- Two or three beets
- goat cheese–I use Capriole
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut off ends of beets (do not peel) and wrap individually in three layers of foil. Then place wrapped beets on a rimmed baking sheet. These beets will leak and make your whole kitchen a nice and pretty fuschia color if not. Bake in oven for one hour. Remove wrap and allow to cool.
When cool, with a paring knife, remove the outer skin (it should peel right off).
Then cut beet into a large bite size dice. Schmear a little goat cheese on the top and put a toothpick in it.
Tomato Jam on Crostini with Kalamata Olives
- French Baguette, cut into slices
- Pitted Kalamata olives
- Tomato Jam–I’m used Spring Valley Farms Tomato Preserves from Holland, Kentucky
Never heard of tomato jam? Neither had I until three weeks ago and I think I ate an entire jar. I am recreating the appetizer I had at 610 Magnolia made by famed chef Edward Lee. He makes his own jam, I bought mine at Paul’s. We all have our talents, people.
Arrange baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle olive oil on each piece. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until they are lightly toasted.
Spread jam on each slice and top with a couple pitted kalamata olives. You could also add a sprig of arugula on top if desired.
Do you have any appetizers perfect for summer? Email me and let me know, with pictures of course, and you just might see them show up here in a few weeks!