Saturday, September 13, 2008

a parmesan appetizer

We had the pleasure of working with our good friends, Ron and Nina, to create an Italian dinner they would serve as a fund-raiser for their church. The centerpiece, so to speak, would be the pork loin brased in milk, Bolognese style (see Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan)

The prima, the pasta, would be: mezzaluna with a rich meat filling. Go to and click on pasta, and then ravioli, to find this terrific dish.

For color, the verdura, we chose zucchini with onion. Also in Go to extra pantry, click on verdura, for this (and other) great zucchini presentations. In the presentation, we centered the sliced pork loin in the middle of the serving plate, and put a small portion of the zucchini above and below it. Gorgeous.

The appetizer was something new for us. We found what we thought would be a wonderful, light, and contrasting appetizer: parmesan onion puffs. It was all we had hoped, and more. Herewith (this makes about twenty):


  • one-quarter cup mayonnaise
  • two ounces, about three-quarter of a cup, of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • one tablespoon minced onion
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ten slices of good, firm, white bread

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put rack in upper third of oven. Stir together the parmesan, mayonnaise, onion and cayenne. Cut out two circles from each slice of bread, using a circular cookie cutter, and arrange the circles of bread on a baking sheet. Bake the toasts until the tops are crisp and just golden, about five minutes. Take the sheet out of the oven and let the toasts cool. Keep the oven on.

    When the toasts are cooled slightly (just slightly), top each toast with a mound of the cheese mixture, probably using just short of a teaspoon of the filling on each toast. Spread the mixture with a knife so that it goes to the edge of the toasts.

    Bake the toasts until the topping is puffed and golden, about six minutes. Wow!

No comments: