Summertime Starters

Two of our favorite summertime starters to bring Italy home for the warm weather, outdoor, lighter eating season of estate . Begin with a cool aperol spritz and a fresh plate of Lemon Olive Oil Marinated Fennel with Burrata and Mint to spread over grilled toasted crostini.

  • 2 medium heads fennel, cored and very thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus more for serving

  • 6 strips lemon zest, thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 8 ounces burrata

  • 1/2cup fresh mint leaves

  • Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Grilled or broiled bread slices, for serving

Place fennel, oil, zest and lemon juice in a shallow dish; season with salt and pepper. Let stand 10 minutes. (Meanwhile, grill bread slices) Just before serving, arrange fennel salad on a large platter. Scatter burrata and mint over fennel. Drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired. (Recipe adopted from Food 52).

Then add an Italian summertime classic with a Southern twist from the US that combines fresh tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil, coarse sea salt and oil from the sun drenched Ligurian Riviera finished with a drizzle of balsamic from Modena.

Fried "Green" Tomato Caprese Salad

Cut tomatoes (red or green or both) in 1/4 inch slices.

Place tomatoes on paper towels, sprinkle with salt and let sit for 30 minutes.

  1. Whisk 2 eggs and 1/2 cup milk together in a medium-size bowl. Scoop 1 cup flour onto a plate. Mix 1/2 cup Biancoperla White Corn polenta, 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs and a pinch of salt and pepper on another plate. Dip tomatoes into flour to coat. Then dip the tomatoes into milk and egg mixture. Dredge in breadcrumbs to completely coat. Dip tomatoes in egg wash then coat with bread crumb mixture. Fry in olive oil on each side until golden brown. Stack with slices of fresh buffalo mozzarella and fresh whole basil leaves.

  2. Sprinkle each layer with extra virgin olive oil and

  3. top with a drizzle of Maletti Aged Balsamico.

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