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Exquisite eating



Published: Wed, September 26, 2018 @ 12:00 a.m.

Small plates to make for appealing dishes

Family Features

Imagine treating yourself and your dinner guests to a delicious, restaurant-caliber meal without leaving your dining room or hiring a personal chef. Small plates, also known as tapas, are lighter, bite-sized indulgences that you can prepare and style seamlessly. By putting your own artful, unique spin on small plates, you can indulge in a meal that appeals to the senses and conveys sophistication.

It can be easy to create delicious small plates: all you need are wholesome, seasonal ingredients to pair with an artisan-crafted, quality olive oil such as Carapelli. The line, with three varieties to explore, brings a renaissance to the modern kitchen and is ideal for endeavoring chefs looking to try new flavors and experiment with tastes or recipes. It embodies a true passion for the art of creating extra-virgin olive oils and is designed to lift cooks out of the everyday cooking experience.

Keep in mind that when it comes to small plates, what’s important isn’t just the recipe, but the plate – and plating – of the cuisine itself. Foods that appeal to the eye are likely to tempt the taste buds as well. Invest in appropriate-sized dishware for small plates that allows the food to take center-stage.

For a true multi-sensory indulgence, also take time to garnish your dishes, big and small, with edible enhancements that lend a subtle complement to the main attraction. A selection of fresh greens, sprinkling of herbs and even a light drizzle of olive oil can do the trick.

Plan how you’ll adapt your favorite dishes for size – and season – with more tips and recipes at carapelliusa.com.

Carrots and Fresh Herbs with Champagne-Dijon Vinaigrette

Prep time: 10 minutes

Servings: 6

Champagne-Dijon Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons champagne vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon clover honey

1/2 cup Carapelli Organic Olive Oil

1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon fresh parsley, finely chopped

1 teaspoon basil, finely chopped

1 pound carrots, peeled and finely shredded

2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons chives, thinly sliced, plus more cut into 3/4-inch pieces, for garnish

1/3 cup champagne vinaigrette

Fine sea salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Chive sticks, for garnish

In medium mixing bowl, combine champagne vinegar, Dijon and honey. Whisk constantly until well combined. While whisking, slowly drizzle in olive oil to emulsify. Add garlic, salt, pepper, parsley and basil; whisk to combine.

In mixing bowl, toss carrots, parsley and chives. Add dressing. Season to taste, with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with chive sticks.

Notes: Vinaigrette can be stored in refrigerator up to five days. For zestier salad, add an additional 2 tablespoons vinaigrette to carrots; serve with crusty bread.

Whipped Ricotta and Goat Cheese Beet Skewers

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 3 hours, plus cooling time

Servings: 42 skewers

Beets:

2 beets (about 1 pound), 3 inches in diameter, peeled and sliced into 3/4-inch chunks

1 tablespoon Carapelli Oro Verde Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon sea salt

Arugula, for garnish

Flaked sea salt, for garnish

Whipped Ricotta and Goat Cheese:

4 ounces goat cheese

1/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

1 tablespoon Carapelli Oro Verde Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat water bath to 185 F.

In mixing bowl, combine beets, olive oil, thyme and salt; toss to coat. Remove beets from liquid and divide, placing them in single layer into two quart-sized vacuum-seal bags, leaving any excess liquid behind.

Use vacuum sealer to remove air and double-seal bag. To use zip-top bags instead, slowly dip slightly open bags into large container filled with water, allowing water to displace air. Seal bags when air is removed.

Place vacuum-sealed bag into prepared water bath, placing heavy, heat-resistant bowl on top of beets to keep them submerged, if necessary. Cook 3 hours.

If you do not have a sous vide machine, bring large stock pot filled with water to rolling boil. Place vacuum-sealed bags in water. Reduce to gentle simmer, cover and cook 1 hour.

Carefully remove beets from water bath and cool in sealed bag until they reach room temperature, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes more before serving.

In mini food processor, cream goat cheese, ricotta and olive oil until smooth. Add zest, salt and pepper: stir to combine.

Transfer cheese mixture to piping bag fitted with star tip and refrigerate until ready to use.

To serve, remove beets from bag and arrange on serving platter. Pipe dollop of Whipped Ricotta and Goat Cheese onto each beet. Drizzle with olive oil.

Garnish with arugula and pinch of flaked sea salt; place skewer through each beet to serve.

Olive Oil Drizzled Pecorino Popcorn

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Servings: 4

1/2 cup grated pecorino, plus more for garnish

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for garnish

3 tablespoons Carapelli Unfiltered Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided

1/3 cup yellow popcorn kernels

In bowl, combine pecorino and pepper; mix until well combined and there are no cheese clumps.

In small saucepan over low flame, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil; keep warm.

Add remaining olive oil and popcorn to large Dutch oven. Stir until all popcorn kernels are coated in oil.

Cover Dutch oven with lid and cook over medium-high heat, shaking pot periodically. Once popcorn begins to pop, lower heat to medium and continue to shake pot approximately every 15 seconds. When popping slows considerably, remove Dutch oven from heat and allow to rest until popping ceases, about 30 seconds.

Remove lid and transfer popcorn to large mixing bowl. Drizzle warm olive oil over popcorn; toss to coat. Sprinkle cheese mixture over popcorn; toss to coat.

Divide popcorn into bowls. Sprinkle some freshly grated pecorino and dash of freshly ground black pepper over top; serve.


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