Take your guests on a global food tour with these easy appetizers from Italy, Greece and Japan.
Honey and Soy Glazed Sesame Tofu – Japan
Prep time: 130 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Calorie count: 191 calories (per serving)
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
450 g extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 2.5 cm cubes
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sesame seeds
- Whisk together the sesame oil, lime juice, soy sauce, and honey.
- Place the tofu cubes in the marinade and set aside for at least two hours.
- Soak the bamboo skewers for 30 minutes prior to use.
- Preheat a barbecue.
- Thread the marinated tofu cubes onto the pre-soaked skewers. Reserve the marinade. Take off the heat and transfer to a serving dish.
- Sprinkle the sesame seeds, garnish with lime curls, and serve hot.
- Tip: You can also use metal skewers for this dish; no pre-soaking is required in that case.
Greek Samosas with Feta-Spinach and Fig-Walnut Fillings – Greece
Makes: 12 samosas
Prep and cooking time: 45 minutes
Calorie count: 400 calories (per serving)
Vegetable oil, for deep frying
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp butter, melted
12 filo pastry wrappers for spring rolls, kept under a damp cloth
Rosemary sprigs, to garnish
For the feta-spinach filling:
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup feta, crumbled
Salt, to taste
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
6 cups spinach, washed
For the fig-walnut filling:
2 tbsp honey
¾ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
6 ripe figs, roughly chopped
- To prepare the feta-spinach filling, blanch the spinach in a large saucepan with salted, boiling water for 10 seconds. Refresh in iced water and drain well. Squeeze out the excess water from the leaves and chop roughly. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large saute pan set over medium flame. Add the onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt, sweating for four to five minutes until softened.
- Toss in the spinach, stir well, and transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the feta and egg, stirring well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside.
- To prepare the fig-walnut filling, combine the figs, walnuts, and honey in a separate mixing bowl, stirring well. Keep aside.
- Working quickly, divide the feta-spinach mixture into six portions. Place a portion on the end of a filo wrapper. Fold one corner over the filling and then bring the far tip of the wrapper over. Repeat, alternating the corners when folding over. Once you get to the final fold, brush the wrapper with a little melted butter before folding over, and seal. Finish the other five in a similar manner.
- Repeat the process with the fig-walnut filling and remaining wrappers.
- Deep-fry the samosas, three at a time, until golden-brown (about three minutes). Flip the samosas halfway through cooking for an even finish.
- Remove to a platter lined with kitchen paper.
- Garnish with sprigs of rosemary and serve hot.
Tip: Delicious even cold, these samosas are perfect for a picnic as well.
Caponata – Italy
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Calorie count: 337 calories (per serving)
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, torn into strips, to garnish
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 ½ tbsp sugar
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
1 onion, chopped
3 to 4 zucchini, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
2 aubergines (eggplants), chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
- Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium flame and cook the aubergines for about 10 minutes until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and heat. Toss in the peppers and zucchini, and cook, until they begin to soften.
- Add the onion, and season with salt and pepper. Cook gently for 10 to 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the cooled aubergines and the capers to the pan.
- Mix the sugar and vinegar, add to the pan, and cook, stirring at intervals, for 10 minutes. Take the pan off the flame and remove the caponata to a serving bowl.
- Garnish with parsley and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
Tip: Serve this sweet and sour Italian dish hot or cold with toasted crusty bread.