Category: Sides

Caponata—Summer’s Bounty

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

From my perspective, some of the most interesting regional Mediterranean cuisine can be found on the island of Sicily. What makes the cuisine interesting for me, either in traditional or modern interpretations, are all of the diverse cultural heritages that have left their imprint on what has evolved into Sicilian cuisine today. Sicilian cuisine, it could be argued is the original “fusion cuisine”—a layering of many ingredients and flavors as they were discovered and later introduced into the culinary tradition.

Any discussion about Sicilian cuisine should begin with caponata and its more refined variation, caponatina. It is one dish that strongly reflects a melding of several of the culinary influences that have shaped Sicilian cuisine as it has evolved over the last 2,500 years. By way of a few examples: the Greeks introduced, among other ingredients, olives and honey, which both found their way into the base caponata recipe. The ancient Romans and later the Arabs shaped the Sicilian traditional style of cooking, agrodolce (sweet and sour), which uses olive oil, vinegar, and sugar or honey to add personality to caponata, and is a perfect example of that agrodolce style. Under the Spanish influence both the tomato and cocoa found their place in Sicilian cooking and a spot on the caponata ingredients list. Finally, the two key ingredients in the dish, eggplant and capers, owe much to the Arab influence on Sicilian cuisine and Sicilian culture in general. Eggplants, native to southern India, and capers, native to central and western Asia, found their way into Sicily as the Arab influence moved westward into the Mediterranean region.

Caponata has also been one of those foundation dishes for me because the recipe I will share with you in this post has kept me connected to my family, starting with my Sicilian grandmother who passed it along to my aunt, who in turn passed it along to my cousin from whom I received it initially. My recipe is now an interpretation of theirs, having evolved over time as I became a more experienced cook and discovered better ingredients.

The main ingredient of caponata is eggplant, which at this time of the summer season is at its peak, so it is best to take advantage of that bounty now. It can be argued that Sicilian eggplants are the best in Italy overall, although using the fruit—generally considered a vegetable, eggplant is actually a fruit—at its seasonal best will provide for a more delicious caponata outcome.

Caponata … My Way

Some quick thoughts before we begin:

  • There are many regional caponata recipes and optional ingredients to choose from, so find one with the ingredient combinations you like and begin to explore from there.
  • All the ingredients should be cut into uniform size, whether it’s all chunky or all in a smaller dice as with the caponatina, which allows all the ingredients to cook evenly.
  • The eggplant(s) you choose should be firm, not soft, with smooth unblemished skin. Select small to medium in size since the larger eggplants generally have more seeds. Peeling or not is a matter of personal taste. I prefer not to peel because the skin adds a depth of color, additional flavor and texture, along with simply making the finished dish look more interesting. Finally, eggplants are sponges when it comes to cooking with oil and can become soggy. Cook with less oil, over higher heat while stirring often to avoid having a soggy finish or the eggplant sticking to the pan. It is worth noting that I have read white eggplants will absorb less oil, although I have not used that variety in this recipe yet.
  • The variety and color of the olives used can influence the outcome of the dish by adding flavor, color, salinity, and texture. In the past I have used green Castelvetrano olives, Kalamata olives, Gaeta olives, and various other oil-cured olives. In this recipe I incorporated rich oil-cured olives from Morocco.
  • Capers, whether brined or salted can be used interchangeably, although with either they should be rinsed well to reduce the salt before adding to the mix.
  • Along with the required celery I also add fennel to this dish because I like the flavor and I find it is a good way to use both the stalks and the fronds.
  • Both sugar and honey can be used to add that touch of sweetness to the dish. Honey, the original sweetening ingredient before sugar cane was introduced on the island, is just more interesting to use because there are so many varieties, each bringing a different personality to the sweet component in the recipe. This time I used a wild-flower honey variety from Tuscany.
  • In this recipe two vinegars are used: Red wine vinegar, and for an added depth of flavor a drizzle or two of balsamic syrup, made by slowly cooking down a bottle of a lesser-aged balsamic.
  • If during the cooking process some additional liquid might be required, dry red vermouth or Marsala wine are on hand.
  • Along with the tomato paste I also add several chopped, slow-roasted plum tomatoes that are always on hand during this peak summer tomato season.
  • Herbs and spices: celery leaf, fennel fronds, fennel pollen, and occasionally minced parsley and basil leaf, along with a pinch of pepperoncino (red chili flakes).
  • Some recipes also include nuts, which if I were to include, would be either lightly toasted pine nuts or chopped pistachio nuts.

1 to 2 medium eggplants
2 medium red onions
3 to 4 large garlic cloves
2 to 3 celery stalks + leaves
2 to 3 fennel stalks + fronds
2/3 cup pitted olives
2 tablespoons capers
2 to 3 tablespoons raisins (yellow or red)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 to 4 roasted plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons honey, or to taste
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or to taste
2 tablespoons balsamic syrup
Dry red vermouth or Marsala
Fennel pollen (optional)
Basil leaves (optional)
Pine nuts or pistachio (optional)
Salt, pepper, pepperoncino to taste

Mise en place


Prepare all the ingredients as described in my opening thoughts.

Using a large heavy-bottom stockpot with high sides, heat ¼ cup of olive oil over medium to high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the onion, garlic, celery (without leaves), and fennel (without fronds), stirring frequently until vegetable mix begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the prepared eggplant, stirring to thoroughly combine with the aromatic vegetable sauté adding a pinch more of salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the olives, capers, and raisins, again mixing to thoroughly combine into the sauté. If the mix seems a little dry add a splash of the vermouth or Marsala.

Add the tomato paste, chopped roasted tomatoes, honey, vinegars, and sprinkle the cocoa over. Stir the mixture again to thoroughly combine as the dish will take on a deeper color. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and continue cooking for 7 to 10 minutes more stirring frequently to prevent any sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Add the reserved celery leaves and minced fennel fronds, along with ½ teaspoon of fennel pollen (if using) and the shredded basil leaves (if using). The nuts can be added at this time (if using) along with the pepperoncino (if using). Stir once again to combine all the ingredients while checking and correcting the seasoning, of the honey, the vinegar, the herbs and the spices.

Continue to slowly cook, stirring frequently until the eggplant is cooked through but is not soggy and continues to hold its shape—this is best determined by tasting as you go along.

When done, remove the pot from the heat and allow the caponata to cool. Transfer to a bowl and allow to set at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate, allowing the flavors to develop further over night as the dish is best served beginning on the second day. Allow it to return to room temperature before serving.

Caponata is best served as part of an antipasto course and makes a fine topping spread on crostini. It pairs well with egg dishes and works nicely as an appetizer or side salad. I have also used it as a flavorful underlay with grilled fish and sautéed cutlets made with either chicken or turkey. It keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week and also freezes well.

Caponata plated

So whether you choose to serve this sweet-and-sour eggplant specialty as part of your next antipasti, as a side dish, or as an accompaniment to a frittata, you should consider adding caponata to your summertime cooking.

Eat well. Be well.


We all live in a small place, between the future we anticipate and the past we try and relive. . . . Food is one way of staying connected to the people who surround us.







The Brunch

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I realize the last post was quite long, so I promise this one will be shorter! You can also reference the blog archives because several of the recipes in this new post were taken directly from previously shared recipes, some of which I hope you have already tried.

The approach here is to share the entire brunch menu we recently served at a regular gathering with friends.

The menu was as follows:


Crostini of Fig and Onion Confitura topped with crumbled Rogue Creamery “Oregonzola” blue cheese

Crostini of Grilled Mushroom Salsa over Coach Farm Hudson Valley Truffle chèvre



Multilayer frittata of salmon rillette and minced scallion

Grilled pork tenderloin roulade stuffed with salsa verde and toasted pistachios



Char-grilled Broccoli with Artichoke-Fava Aioli

Four-Onion Tart with Taleggio

Red Slaw/Salad



Lemon pound cake with mixed berries

Michigan cherry crostata



Crostini, or “little toast,” is a fun, informal way to invite your guests into the meal. I often serve two or more, mixing different breads and toppings that complement one another and make the start of the meal interesting.

The first crostini paired a fig and onion confitura (a jam or marmalade) with a crumble of Gorgonzola cheese on top. The cheese was produced by the Rogue Creamery based in Oregon and aptly named, “Oregonzola.”

This recipe can be found in the archive dated, May 29, 2015 and titled “Onion and Fig Jam with Rosemary & Balsamic.”

The second crostini paired a flavorful grilled mushroom salsa atop a spread of the creamery Hudson Valley Truffle chèvre produced by Coach Farm.

I have served this salsa in the past, topping a warmed whole Camembert or Brie where the soft creamy cheese and the robust smoky salsa work well together. The chèvre I used this time, studded with pieces of black truffle, was also a delicious pairing. Another cheese that would work well as an underlay is ricotta, made from either cows’ or goats’ milk.

Also, the mix of mushrooms used, both cultivated and wild, is never exactly the same from batch to batch, which creates an interesting combination of flavors and textures in the salsa each time.


Grilled Mushroom Salsa


An assortment of large, fresh, wild, and cultivated mushrooms; white cultivated button mushrooms, Shiitaki, Royal Trumpet, Hen-of-the-Woods, Portobello, Porcini—there are many options to choose from. Cleaned, stems trimmed, and kept whole for initial marinating and grilling.

4 large garlic cloves, minced

2 large shallots, minced

A mix of minced herbs: chive, fennel frond, lemon balm, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, shiso, tarragon, thyme—herbs are a natural partner to mushrooms

Juice and zest from 1 lemon and 1 orange

Olive oil, wine vinegar, salt, pepper, red chili flakes


Place the whole prepared mushrooms in a large work bowl, large enough to allow the assortment to be completely mixed and turned over several times to fully coat.

Sprinkle the other ingredients around and over, turning several times to evenly distribute the aromatics and coat with the citrus, oil, and vinegar. Cover with clear film and marinate for several hours at room temperature. Meanwhile start the wood fire or heat up the gas grill.

If using a wood-fired grill, allow the flames to burn down, leaving a white-hot coal bed, or heat the gas grill on a high flame to allow the grill surface to get very hot.

Once the grill is ready, working quickly, carefully place the mushrooms on the hot grill surface to sear and char on one side, then turn them over and repeat the cooking on the second side until they can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife.

Remove the mushrooms from the grill and place back in the marinade to cool.

Once cool enough to handle, remove and drain the mushrooms, then cut each one into a medium to small dice, placing the pieces in a clean work bowl.

At this point you can add an optional ingredient of toasted, finely chopped nuts: almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, or walnuts. If using, sprinkle the mince over the top and mix thoroughly to combine.

The salsa is now ready to serve atop the crostini, which can be lightly sprinkled with some of the minced herb mix or your choice of a single herb (in this case minced fennel fronds).


Multilayer Frittata

Although just a little more work, I sometimes prepare this layered frittata instead of one single large frittata. It is essentially a short-stack of several mini two-egg frittatas, either each layer made up of the same ingredients or each layer comprised of different ingredients just to make the finished dish a little more interesting. As with any frittata, the ingredient options are many.

Ingredients (serves 8 to 10)

3½ cups of salmon rillettes (recipe can be found in the latest post, July 2, 2017, in the segment titled “Fresh and Smoked Salmon Spread … A Rillette.” Note: the rillettes freezes very well, so I was able to repurpose the leftover from the last post into this frittata.

14 large eggs, enough for seven two-egg frittatas

7 scallions, minced

Half & Half, olive oil, butter, salt & pepper


Each individual frittata consists of 2 beaten eggs, ½ cup of the salmon rillettes, 1 minced scallion, approximately 2 tablespoons of Half & Half, and salt & pepper to taste.

Heat an ovenproof 6-inch nonstick sauté pan over medium high heat, melting 1 tablespoon of butter in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Egg custard

Preheat one oven to 350 degrees, while heating the other on broil.

Once the butter and oil in the sauté pan begin to sizzle, quickly spread the egg custard across the pan, shaking to distribute evenly. Run a rubber spatula around the edge to prevent any sticking.

Once the egg mix begins to set up, place the sauté pan in the preheated oven to bake for 5 to 7 minutes until firm. Remove the pan from the baking oven and place under the broiler for 2 minutes to brown and set the top of the frittata. Carefully slide the finished frittata onto a plate and repeat the process until all seven are cooked and stacked.


Short stack

Once the stacked frittatas are cooled, place a plate on top of the stack and secure with a piece of clear film to weigh down the stack to flatten and draw out any excess liquid. Place in the refrigerator if not serving that same day.


When ready to serve, return the frittata stack to room temperature, pour off any more accumulated liquid as necessary, remove the clear film and top plate, then slice to serve either at room temperature or warmed slightly in the oven.



Pork Tenderloin Roulade . . . Toasted Pistachio Salsa Verde

For ingredients and methods reference the following posts:

Salsa Verde, November 3, 2015. To this base recipe add:

¼ cup toasted breadcrumbs, ¼ cup shelled, toasted, and minced pistachio nuts, and ¼ cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (or other). Thoroughly mix these ingredients into the salsa verde and place inside the butterflied pork tenderloin before rolling and tying.

Pork Tenderloin Roulade: Follow the recipe that uses turkey in the most recent post, July 2, 2017, in a segment titled “Roasted Stuffed Turkey Breast Roulade with Morel Mushrooms.” The procedure and techniques are all the same.


•  •  •  •  •  •

Char-grilled Broccoli with Artichoke-Fava Aioli

Roasted or grilled vegetables are delicious because their flavors are pronounced by that cooking method, which promotes their natural sweetness. Pair them with a dipping sauce such as an aioli and you now have the makings of a simple but sophisticated side dish.

Since I was using the wood-fired grill to cook the mushroom salsa and the pork tenderloin I thought it appropriate not to waste that white-hot bed of coals so I added some broccoli to the mix.

Broccoli lends itself to grilling very well and chars quite nicely, lightly blackening the florets and crisping the stems resulting in a colorful, textured, and juicy vegetable.

Ingredients (serves 8)

2 pounds of broccoli, trimmed and cut either in half or in thirds depending upon size of the bunch

Olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, red chili flakes


Clean and trim the broccoli as needed and cut to size. Steam for 5 to 7 minutes depending on the size of the head so that it can just be pierced with the tip of a sharp knife; firm but not soft. Set aside.

When ready to grill, place the steamed broccoli (no oil necessary) directly onto the grill over the hot coals, turning frequently until beautifully charred on both sides and tender. Place the grilled broccoli in a large work bowl to recover.

While still warm, drizzle the lemon juice and olive oil over and sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and red chili flakes to taste.

Plate the broccoli to serve as a side vegetable accompanied by the aioli.

Off the grill


Artichoke-Fava Aioli

A classic aioli is essentially a garlic-fortified mayonnaise sauce popular in southern French dishes. Having read countless recipes where the base aioli is enhanced with other flavors to complement the dish it accompanies, I thought I would follow that approach.

Since I had some freshly poached baby artichokes as well as some fresh fava beans remaining from two other dishes I had made, why not incorporate them into the aioli and see where that takes me? If fresh baby artichokes are not available, bottled artichoke hearts in water work just fine, drained well. If, as I suspect, the fava beans are unavailable, then simply leave that ingredient out.


6 to 8 poached baby artichokes finely chopped

1/3 cup blanched fava beans, if using

1 large garlic clove; finely minced

½ cup mayonnaise

Juice from ½ lemon

1 egg yolk

¼ cup finely minced mint and parsley leaves

Salt & pepper to taste

¼ cup olive oil


Place the artichokes and fava beans in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to finely chop. Scrape down the sides of the work bowl. Add all the other ingredients except the olive oil, pulsing again until they are finely mashed and thoroughly mixed together.

Again scrape down the sides of the work bowl.

With the processor running on high speed, drizzle the olive oil down the feed tube until a creamy mixture is achieved. Check and adjust the seasoning as needed and place in a jar or small bowl until ready to use to sauce the grilled broccoli. This aioli can be stored in the back (coldest part) of the refrigerator for perhaps two weeks, but I’m certain you will use it up before that.

Great spooned on cold bean salads, boiled potatoes, poached fish, cold thinly sliced roasts, grilled shellfish, or as a dressing for any number of slaw recipes—there are many possibilities for you to explore.


Four-Onion Tart with Taleggio

This recipe, complete with the instructions for the basic olive oil tart crust can be found in the January 2, 2015 post titled “Savory Tart 2 – From the Pantry.”



The one difference in this current version of the tart is that I substituted one washed rind cheese, Taleggio, with another, Cabricharme.

Without going into a primer about cheese, which could take up an entire blog post on its own, suffice it to say, while a washed rind cheese ages the exterior is coated, or washed with some form of liquid—it can be water, brine, beer, wine, grappa, or combination of same. The purpose of the washing is to stimulate the growth of specific, edible bacteria and molds, which at a minimum, tints the outer rind and penetrates the surface to soften and mellow the cheese from the outside in. This promotes the aging and adds to the depth of flavor. These cheeses are often referred to as “stinky cheeses.”

The Taleggio dates back to Roman times, made from cows’ milk with a brine-washed rind, initially produced in northern Italy. It is essentially a table cheese but I have found it lends itself well to certain cooking applications, as with this tart recipe.

The Cabricharme can be traced back to cheese made by Trappist Monks in Belgium, made from goats’ milk with a beer-washed rind. I was recently introduced to this cheese which I find shares very similar characteristics with Taleggio and has become a favorite, albeit somewhat difficult to source.

The rinds are similar in color, with the Taleggio being a little stronger in flavor, a little more “stinky.” Below the rind the cheese centers are white, velvety, creamy, mushroomy, and tangy. The Taleggio is a tad more earthy and strong while the Cabricharme is a little softer and yeasty because beer is used to wash the rind. From my perspective they are both world-class cheeses, which, if you haven’t explored already, you should.

Try them in the tart recipe, or maybe first with some crusty country bread and a glass of Chianti Classico or Barolo in the case of the Taleggio. If not with wine, then a glass of a craft beer paired with the Cabricharme.


Red Slaw/Salad

This slaw/salad was included on the menu because it required no cooking and added some vivid color on the plate. There is no right or wrong way to prepare this dish as the ingredient mix and dressing are a matter of personal taste. In the end the salad is predominantly red in color and adds a nice texture to the meal.

Slaws are a summer seasonal dish which I like to include from time to time, having arrived at this recipe from several others I have explored in the past. It can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated. Apply the dressing when the dish is plated and served.

Mother Nature’s abstract

Ingredients (serves 6 to 8)

2 to 3 medium raw red beets

½ medium red cabbage

1 large red onion, thinly sliced and soaked in cold water

1 large fennel bulb

8 red radishes

4 large scallions


2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 generous tablespoon honey (many options)

Juice 1 lemon

¼ cup red wine or sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon rinsed capers

Salt & pepper

½ cup olive oil

Minced fennel fronds for serving


Set out a large work bowl, using rubber gloves peel the beets and coarsely grate into the work bowl.

Core the red cabbage and shred into the bowl.

Drain the sliced red onion and add to the bowl.

Remove the stalks from the fennel bulb (reserving for another use) and thinly shave the fennel bulb into the bowl, using a sharp knife or a mandolin.

Thinly slice the radishes into coins then cross cut into batons (matchsticks), adding to the work bowl.

On a diagonal, thinly slice the scallions, most of the green tops and some of the white bulb, adding to the work bowl.

Toss the vegetable mix with your hands or tongs to thoroughly combine, allowing the beets to color the other ingredients. Cover the bowl with clear film and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Make the dressing by placing all of the ingredients except the olive oil in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Gently shake or swirl the mixture until the mustard and the honey have been thinned by the citrus and the vinegar to form a smooth emulsion. Add the oil and vigorously shake the jar until combined. If not using immediately, the oil may settle on the top but shaking the dressing again will quickly form a smooth emulsion.

To serve, drizzle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the dressing over the slaw in the large work bowl and toss the evenly distribute and coat. Check and correct the seasoning as needed and using tongs place a mound of the slaw on the place. Drizzle with another teaspoon of the dressing and sprinkle the minced fennel fronds on top.

For a nice contrast and optional accompaniment to this slaw/salad, mix a cup of Greek yogurt with juice from half a lemon, ½ teaspoon of crushed celery seeds, ½ teaspoon finely minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Place a tablespoon of this white cream alongside the red slaw.

•  •  •  •  •  •

It is not often that a dessert is included as part of our weekly meals but it will always be on the menu when we gather around the table for a meal with family and friends. At this brunch there were two desserts to choose from, taking advantage of the berries available in the market at the time. Cherries from Michigan, the first of the local blueberries from New Jersey, and raspberries from California were used.

Having made a rich Bundt pound cake spiked with Marsala earlier in the season for another gathering, I decided to stay with that dessert approach and dusted off an older recipe for a simple lemon pound cake I have served many times accompanied by a mix of berries.

Since I had an abundance of the Michigan cherries on hand I also put them to work in a free-formed tart called a crostata by the Italians, or a gallette by the French. Call it what you want, the variations are many depending upon the filling ingredients and the results are always tasty!


Lemon Pound Cake

Ingredients (serves 8 to 10)

2½ cups all-purpose flour

Zest and juice 1 lemon

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon each baking powder and baking soda

1 cup unsalted butter

1½ cups sugar

2 large eggs plus 3 yolks

1 cup Greek yogurt


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Butter a 10-inch springform pan, place a round of parchment paper in the bottom, butter the parchment, and flour the pan. Set aside.

In a medium work bowl, hand whisk the dry ingredients to combine. Set aside.

In the work bowl of a stand mixer or in a separate bowl using a hand mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until smooth, pale, and thoroughly combined. Add the eggs and the yolks, one at a time, mixing until fully combined. Scrape down the sides and add the citrus zest and juice, mixing to combine. Add the yogurt and mix to thoroughly combine.

With the mixer running on a moderate speed, slowly add the reserved dry ingredients until thoroughly combined and forming a smooth batter, scraping down the sides as needed.

Using a rubber spatula, turn out the cake batter into the prepared springform pan, spreading it evenly. Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, testing to determine doneness, and the top is lightly browned.

Once fully baked, place the pan on a rack to cool completely, removing the form and parchment before placing the cake on a platter to cut and serve. Accompany each piece with a tablespoon or two of the mixed berries, and if using, a dollop of whipped cream, Greek yogurt, or mascarpone.

Lemon pound cake with mixed berries


Michigan Cherry Crostata

There are as many recipes for a crostata or gallette pastry as there are variations to the fillings for the tart. I have read many and use the following as my pastry recipe.

Ingredients (serves 8)

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon baking powder

8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into ½-inch pieces

3 tablespoons Greek yogurt or sour cream

1 to 2 tablespoons cold water as needed


2 cups of pitted and halved cherries

1 tablespoon sugar

1 egg beaten in 1 tablespoon water for the egg wash

1 to 2 tablespoons additional flour as needed


Preheat the oven to 375–400 degrees.

Place the cherries in a work bowl, sprinkle with the sugar, toss, and mix to cover and set aside.

In the work bowl of a food processor, place the dry ingredients, pulsing a few times to mix. With the processor running slowly, drop the butter pieces in one by one until they begin to incorporate into the dry ingredients. Add the yogurt and increase the speed gradually until the dough begins to form. If the mix seems to thick, add a tablespoon or two of water until the dough pulls away from the sides of the work bowl and all the butter is incorporated.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a flattened disk. Wrap the dough in clear film and chill for 15 minutes.

Once chilled, unwrap and return the dough to the floured surface. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and gently roll out the dough to a round of approximately 14 inches. Place the rolled out dough on a baking sheet pan, sprinkle some flour around the center, leaving a 2-inch margin around. Spoon the cherry filling onto the dough working from the center out up to the 2-inch margin.

Start folding the dough over and on itself around the tart until the filling is completely enclosed. Pinch or crease any of the seams so that the dough doesn’t come apart during baking.

Using a pastry brush, spread the egg wash all over the folded dough which will insure a good seal on the seams and nicely color the tart during baking. Since this is a free-form tart, no one tart will look exactly the same as another, so as long as the folded dough is sealed holding the fruit filling in during baking the tart should come out just fine.

Michigan cherry crostata

Although optional, a few small dots of butter can be added to the top of the fruit.

Once baked, allow the tart to cool before cutting. A slice can be served on its own or accompanied by ice cream, or whipped cream, or Greek yogurt, or mascarpone.

Slice of Michigan cherry crostata

So that was our brunch menu. I hope it will inspire you to prepare one of your own or borrow from any or all of the recipes featured here.

Be well. Eat well.


Good food doesn’t have to be complicated. Food is one way of staying connected to the people who surround us.