Simple Healthy Appetizers

Planning a dinner party to entertain guests can be an overwhelming experience. Whether its friends, family, or some business associates, you will want to impress them with an interesting course selection that looks as good as it tastes. Believe it or not, this can be done without all the stress, and time consuming preparation. The impression you make with the very first dish you present to them can be extremely important and set the tone for their taste buds. I will offer a few appetizer ideas that are sure to hit the mark on multiple levels.

Simple Healthy Appetizers

Things that I like to keep in mind when preparing dishes are: compatible and complimentary pairings, appearance, and appeal. The two offerings I will outline here for you are great for a number of reasons. They possess quality, character, and a wide range of versatility, not to mention their simple enough to make while maintaining all their complexity and sophistication. And they are healthy without sacrificing an ounce of flavor.

Prosciutto e’ melon:

The first selection is called prosciutto e’ melon. This is an intriguing offering that doesn’t get much simpler. Acquire some finely sliced prosciutto either at your local market or for some of the best authentic prosciutto, visit the closest Italian deli or butcher shop. Then purchase some ripened cantaloupes. After de-seeding and shelling the cantaloupes, cut it into slivers. Wrap one slice of prosciutto around each sliver of cantaloupe and plate on top of a bed of leaf lettuce with fresh sprigs of mint and lemon or orange wedges. The salty flavor of the prosciutto is a magical compliment to the sweet juiciness of the cantaloupe to make an intriguing and delightful appetizer that will pleasantly surprise your guests.

My take on the caprese salad:

The second selection requires a touch more work, although it yields a much greater product as well. It could be categorized as my take on the caprese salad. What you will need to serve a party of six; two medium sized eggplants, four roma tomatoes, two balls of fresh mozzarella, fresh garlic, basil, and rosemary. You will also need virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, coarse kosher or sea salt, ground black pepper, crushed red pepper, and a head of red leaf or bib lettuce.

After skinning the eggplants, cut them, the tomatoes, and the fresh mozzarella into round disks. Mince about four garlic cloves, and cut about half a bushel of basil into fine chiffon ribbons. Place the garlic, basil, tsp. of black pepper, coarse salt, and a few pinches of crushed red pepper to taste into about a cup of olive oil. Pour this mixture over your cut eggplant, tomato, and mozzarella disks and allow to sit overnight. After soaking thoroughly, take out the eggplant and tomatoes and place them on a roasting sheet to roast in a pre-heated oven of 450 degrees for about 10 minutes or until they begin to show some color. In a sauce pan, simmer about a cup of balsamic vinegar until it begins to thicken into a sticky reduction.

To plate, drizzle some balsamic reduction onto each plate. Then create stacked towers of eggplant, fresh mozzarella, and tomato, repeating the trio two times on each plate so each tower contains two of each disk. Stab a sprig of fresh rosemary through each tower to add aroma, stability, and great appearance to your towers. You may place a few leafs of the lettuce on each plate with lemon wedges to finish it off for serving. And viola’, you have successfully impressed your guests with simple and healthy appetizers.

Enjoy, and Happy eating.


Image: iStockPhoto

At the age of 14 Derek got his first of many jobs in the food industry. A relatively small pizza chain with locations mainly in malls along the northeast. After learning the ins and outs from top to bottom and front to back of pizza and fast food Italian Derek expanded his culinary knowledge with 2 years of formal schooling. After Derek’s schooling he worked as an executive chef for a number of cutting edge Italian, Mediterranean, and Pacific Rim fusion eateries before shifting his focus towards a more journalistic approach. There is an unbelievable amount of curious creations out there to be explored and enjoyed and Derek intends to find and try as many of them as he can. Happy Eating… Derek Von Weber