Appetizing Aperitivo

When traveling in Italy this summer, I discovered the very pleasant Italian version of aperitifs. Unlike in Finland (and in many other countries where I have traveled) an aperitif in Italy often includes a nice little – or sometimes not so little – buffet of food to accompany your drink. And it can be quite reasonably priced too. E.g. in a trendy bar in Bologna, I only needed to pay 1 € extra in addition to my drink to get a plate for the buffet table. So in short, this aperitif concept certainly is one more thing to love about Italy!

Inspired my fond summer memories I put together a little aperitivo of my own for four people last weekend. Admittedly, a street-credible blogger would have included a picture of the actual drinks in her post. However, in this case of a thirsty blogger, it will suffice to say that I made some Aperol Spritzes to all of us (and if you don’t know them yet for some reason, google them…).

Foodwise my interpretation of an aperitivo consisted of:

  • Nice green olives (marinated by my supermarket, not me)
  • Focaccia alla genovese: I am very proud to report that this time I managed to make this bread record thick (at least 0.5 cm thicker than ever before!). Yet I found it a bit too oily so I won’t share the recipe I used. But maybe the next time I’ll nail it at even another 0.5 cm thicker…
  • “Mini caprese”: I got the idea for this originally from Italian Elle. It is a fool proof combination of mozzarella, tomatoes and basil with a nice aperitif style presentation!
  • Insalata di avocado con gamberetti: I think shrimp cocktails were the epitome of elegance in the Finnish dinner parties in the 1980s and this dish reminded me of them in a nice retro kind of way. I found it also surprising how well walnuts worked with shrimps, avocado and celery. The recipe suggested that you utilise the avocado shells for presentation but I preferred to use some Finnish design instead!


Shrimp and Avocado Salad

Serves 4

2 avocados

200 – 300 g frozen and peeled shrimp

4 celery ribs

10 walnuts

10 g ketchup

20 g mayonnaise

4 lettuce leaves

lemon juice

Unfreeze the shrimp and cut them into 2-3 pieces each. Halve the avocados, remove the pits and carve out the avocado flesh. Cut the avocado flesh into smallish cubes and sprinkle them with some lemon juice. Clean the celery ribs and slice them into cubes. Chop the walnuts and mix them together with the shrimp, avocados and celery.

Combine the mayonnaise with the ketchup to create a dressing. Stir it into the mixture of shrimp and vegetables. Divide the salad into four portions for serving. Take one lettuce leaf for each portion, place it in a dish of your choice (or an empty avocado shell if you prefer) and add a portion of the salad on top of it.

Team Tomato – Insalata Erbette e Tre Pomodori

I was cheering on behalf of Cucina Fintastica for Gli Azzurri yesterday to no avail. Stupid football. Stupid Uruguay team (apart from the tight compression shirts that is).

Fortunately I am also an avid supporter of another team that never fails: Team Tomato. This salad includes three types of them and with the help of avocado, feta cheese and toasted bread it doesn’t need any unjust red cards, corner kicks or skimpy outfits to become a sure winner! And who knows – maybe if somebody had offered this salad to that chap Luis Suarez before yesterday’s match, he wouldn’t have needed to sink his teeth into his fellow player…

Salad of Three Tomatoes and Herbs

Serves 4

(Wild) herbs

100 g tomatoes

100 g cherry tomatoes

100 g sun-dried tomatoes

1 avocado (+ some lemon juice)

100 g feta cheese in cubes

extra virgin olive oil

balsamic vinegar

some slices of white bread

Chop the herbs and slice the tomatoes and the avocado (squeeze some lemon juice onto the avocado slices). Mix all ingredients together and season with oil and vinegar (+ salt & pepper) to your taste. Toast the bread. I used the bread as “croutons” but you can also serve it on side with some oil and vinegar.