Appetizer Idea: Antipasto Skewers

We just had a lovely dinner party where I made a ton of food, so a lot of that will be shared here, beginning with the appetizer.

My idea was to make toothpick-skewered vegetarian antipasto using cherry/grape tomatoes, mozzarella balls (bocconcini) and marinated mushrooms.  Everyone loved them (I don’t particularly like them because I’m not a fan of raw tomato).  You can totally mix it up with any antipasto items you want: olives, ham, salami, pepper, whatever!  Here’s the recipe for the marinated mushrooms:

Marinated Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds cremini or button mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper

Directions

Add 1/4 cup olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook them for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and juice, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves. Pour over the remaining olive oil and season the mixture with salt and pepper. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool. Serve at room temperature.

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Vegetable Saute with Tarragon Vinaigrette (and a poached egg)

I really like a poached egg over asparagus, so once I saw this recipe I knew I’d love it (I don’t remember where I got it from, but it’s a lot different from the original version).  It almost surprises you with the flavor (the tarragon) and after the first bite you’re hooked.  It also doesn’t take very long at all to put together, so it’s a great weeknight dinner.  You can simultaneously poach the eggs while you’re letting the vegetables cook down.  While they’re all cooking, make the vinaigrette so it’ll all be ready at the same time.  I’d pair it with a nice crusty bread to soak up the delicious vinaigrette.

Oh! And I finally have a picture of the finished dish (pardon the quality, it was taken from RS’ iPhone)

Vegetable Saute with Tarragon Vinaigrette

Vegetable Saute with Tarragon Vinaigrette (and a poached egg)

Serves 3 as a main course, or 4 as a side dish

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 eggs
  • Vegetable Saute:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bunch asparagus (1 pound), sliced into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 can artichokes, diced
  • 1/2 pint grape/cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Tarragon Vinaigrette:
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  • Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until tender, about 2 minutes (don’t overcook it, as the garlic will get bitter).
  • At the same time, start some water boiling in a pot (for the poached egg)
  • Add the mushrooms into the large skillet and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and artichokes and cook until the asparagus is tender, about 5 more minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and add the tomatoes and pepper.
  • When the water starts to boil, add the eggs and simmer for about 3-4 minutes (to your own preference)
  • Combine the oil, vinegar, tarragon, salt and pepper in a glass screw-top jar. Seal the jar and shake vigorously to mix the vinaigrette.
  • Toss the vegetables with the vinaigrette and serve.