Although my birthday starts at 9 p.m. on a Saturday, I want to offer my friends snacks to nibble on throughout the night. Since the kitchen at 15 Romolo is still under construction, I'll make an assortment of easy appetizers that are best served at room temperature.
Marinated mushrooms and prosciutto-wrapped breadsticks are delicious starters. Chicken liver pate on crostini will suit the palates of my foodie friends and pair nicely with a goat cheese pesto torta. For these wonderful recipes, read more.
1 pound fresh cremini mushrooms
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2–4 tablespoons white wine vinegar, or to taste
1–2 cloves minced garlic (optional)
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 teaspoons fresh minced oregano
2 tablespoons fresh minced Italian parsley
sea salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon each black peppercorns and coriander seeds
- Clean mushrooms and remove stems.
- Simmer mushroom caps in salted water for 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Drain and transfer to a bowl.
- Add olive oil, vinegar, garlic, red onion, oregano, parsley, salt, peppercorns and coriander. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Marinate in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Nutrition Info: Per serving (About 5oz/146g-wt.): 110 calories (70 from fat), 7g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 3g protein, 8g total carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 2g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 160mg sodium
2 teaspoons chopped parsley leaves
2 teaspoons chopped chives
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
4 tablespoons white truffle oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
16 slices prosciutto, thinly sliced
- Mix parsley, chives, salt and white pepper with softened butter and truffle oil, then spread on a flat plate.
- Dip each breadstick in butter mixture so that 3/4 of the stick is covered to hold prosciutto in place.
- Roll in Parmesan, then wrap a slice of prosciutto over the buttered 3/4 length of each stick, leaving a dry end of stick for guests to serve themselves.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound chicken livers, trimmed and patted dry
2 ounces thickly sliced bacon, cut into 1-by-1/4-inch pieces
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 Golden Delicious apple—peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup brandy
Salt and freshly ground pepper
24 baguette slices, toasted
Small sage leaves, for garnish
- In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the olive oil until foaming.
- Add the chicken livers and cook over high heat, turning once or twice, until browned all over, about 3 minutes. Transfer the livers to a small bowl.
- Add the bacon to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate to drain.
- Add the onion to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
- Add the apple, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, until very soft and just beginning to break down, about 10 minutes longer. Add the brandy to the skillet and carefully ignite with a long match; let the alcohol burn off.
- Add 1/4 cup of the apple mixture to the bacon. Add the remaining apple mixture to a blender along with the chicken livers and blend until smooth.
- With the machine on, add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and puree until creamy.
- Pass the chicken liver mousse through a fine strainer into a bowl (omit this step for a chunkier mousse). Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
- Spread the chicken liver mousse on the baguette toasts. Garnish with a little of the bacon-apple mixture and the sage leaves and serve at once.
Make ahead: the mousse and apple-bacon garnish can be refrigerated separately for up to 2 days. Return to room temperature before serving.
1/4 cup prepared basil pesto
Vegetable oil for brushing pan
1/4 cup finely chopped rinsed drained bottled roasted red peppers
20 oz soft mild goat cheese, softened at room temperature (2 cups)
3 tablespoons bottled black olive paste or tapenade
crackers or toasts
- Drain pesto in a small fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl 15 minutes, then discard excess oil.
- Lightly oil loaf pan and line with a sheet of plastic wrap large enough to allow a generous overhang on all 4 sides. For a smoother-looking torta, oiled loaf pan can be lined with parchment paper instead of plastic wrap. Cut 1 long piece of parchment to line bottom and ends, leaving a 2-inch overhang, then trace and cut out 2 more pieces for sides of pan plus a 2-inch overhang.
- Blot peppers well between paper towels to remove excess liquid.
- Spread about one fourth (1/2 cup) of cheese evenly over bottom of loaf pan and top with all of pesto, spreading evenly. Drop 1/2 cup cheese by tablespoons over pesto and spread gently to cover pesto.
- Top with chopped peppers, spreading evenly. Drop another 1/2 cup cheese by tablespoons over peppers and spread gently to cover peppers.
- Spread olive paste evenly on top, then drop remaining cheese by tablespoons over olive paste, spreading gently to cover olive paste. Cover pan with another sheet of plastic wrap and chill at least 8 hours.
- Remove plastic wrap from top of pan and invert torta onto a serving plate, then peel off remaining plastic wrap. Let torta stand at room temperature 20 minutes before serving.
Make ahead: torta can be chilled in pan up to 24 hours. Let torta stand at room temperature 20 minutes before serving.