I don’t actually need an excuse for an Aperitif but I always find that the summer months are the perfect opportunity to do so. I love nothing more than on a warm evening to put together a few little snacks, like these Mozzarella, Olive and Tomato Crostini and to serve with an ice-cold Aperol Spritz. I always think that we don’t do the Aperitif as often as we should, and I think that is largely down to just having the time to do so. An aperitif is a drink before dinner and even finding time to make dinner itself on a warm, sunny evening is exhausting enough – let alone making some snacks to go with your pre-dinner drinks! But I love it, it’s a great way to gather people together. One of my favourite books to get inspired by is Kay Plunkett-Hogge’s Aperitivo.
La Premiata Ditta here in Berlin is my go to place in Berlin for an aperitivo. It is quite a chaotic place, impossible to reserve and requires a small wait for a table but it really is worth it. They bring out lots of small plates of cheese and hams, olives and crostinis and fresh grilled vegetables. And of course, they pour a pretty decent Aperol Spritz! But doing your own aperitivo at home can also be simple. I am fortunate to have a balcony and on a warm summers evening I sometimes just serve a few antipasti style dishes for our dinner. It is laid-back and one of my favourite ways of dining.
I use a mix of sun-dried tomatoes from a jar, a bit of red pesto and plenty of olive oil to top the bits of bread with. I tend to use wholemeal bread and then fry them gently in olive oil. It works so well when topped with a little of mozzarella, some black olives and fresh basil! Always serve with an Aperol Spritz on the side…
- Half a jar of sundried tomatoes
- Few fresh basil leaves
- 1 ball mozzarella
- Handful of black olives (no stones, cut in half)
- Olive oil
- 1 tsp red pesto
- Salt/ pepper
- Wholemeal loaf of bread (cut into small squares) or 1 plain baguette (sliced)
- In a food processor mix the sundried tomatoes, red pesto and about 3 tbsp olive oil. Blend until smooth. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
- Heat a good glug of olive oil in a frying pan. Once hot add the pieces of bread and cook on each side for a couple of mins, until golden and slightly crisping up. Drain on some kitchen paper and leave to cool for 5 mins.
- Spread the tomato paste on top of each piece of bread, then top with a bit of mozzarella and some black olives. Season a little with some black pepper and then scatter some roughly torn basil leaves on top.