Saturday, May 30, 2009

No Cook Appetizers - Spicy Marinated Olives & Prosciutto Wrapped Hearts of Palm



I'm crazy for appetizers. Whetting your appetite in anticipation of the upcoming delicious meal while sipping on a glass of wine and conversing with friends is a fantastic way to spend an hour or two. Whenever we host a dinner party, I always set out a few appetizers that are substantial enough to feel like you're really eating something but light enough so that you don't spoil your appetite before dinner. I used to put out the standard crudite and dip platter but after a while I started to have that "been there, done that" feeling and I wanted to offer my guests something a little more special than carrot sticks and hummus. Now I start off with spicy marinated olives, prosciutto wrapped hearts of palm, and nibbles of parmesan or pecorino romano cheese. These dishes present very elegantly and can be made a day or two ahead of time. And the best part is that they are no cook recipes so they're perfect for hot summer nights. No fuss and lots of style, which is just how a dinner party with friends should be.

SPICY MARINATED OLIVES
printer friendly recipe

6 ounce can of large pitted black olives packed in water, drained
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
zest and juice of one orange or lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 bay leaves, crumbled

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 48 hours. Allow to come to room temperature before serving. Serves 4.


PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED HEARTS OF PALM
printer friendly recipe

7 ounce jar of hearts of palm, drained well
1/4 pound prosciutto
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

If the hearts of palm are longer than a few inches then cut them in half. Wrap each piece fairly tightly in a slice of prosciutto. Lay the pieces in a single layer in a nonmetal dish.

Whisk together the oil, vinegar and thyme. Pour over the hearts of palm.

Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

Allow to come to room temperature.

Sprinkle with black pepper before serving.

Serves 4.

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