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This tangy, delightfully clean and fresh-tasting appetizer combines all that we love in Italian food and flavours: colourful, aromatic, some tart, some fruity olives and deliciously herby. It’s a perfect pre-lunch starter for those long, hot festive days and events! And you can prepare literally everything the day before and dish up a few hours in advance!

Almost-Caprese Appetiser
A taste of Italy!


  • Layer 1: Tomato & Red Pepper Brunoise
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 1 small red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 30 ml lemon-infused olive oil
  • 10 ml white balsamic vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • Layer 2: Onion & Garlic Mascarpone
  • 200 ml mascarpone cheese
  • 4 spring onions (only the white parts), chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • 5 ml lemon juice
  • Layer 3: Basil Pesto & Wild Rocket
  • 200 ml Homemade Pesto
  • 250 ml wild rocket

Chef's hint: You can substitute the basil pesto for salsa verde if you feel like a more tart-salty top layer.


To make the brunoise layer, skewer the red pepper, hold it over a gas flame until the skin blackens then pop into a plastic bag to sweat it off. Rinse the skin off under cold water, cut open the pepper, and remove the ribs and pips. Pat very dry then cut into tiny dice. Place in a mixing bowl. Plunge the tomato into boiling water, rinse under cold water, slip the skin off, remove the ribs and seeds and cut into tiny dice. Add to the rep pepper. Congratulations, you have made a load of brunoise! Now stir in the chilli, lemon-infused olive oil and lemon juice and season to taste. Spoon about 15 ml of the mixture into 12 shot glasses and reserve the rest for your next salad, soup or sauce.

For the mascarpone layer, mix together all the ingredients and spoon in equal portions over the tomato and pepper brunoise layer in the glasses.

Top the whole lot with a layer of the basil pesto and garnish with the wild rocket. Serve with grissini (bread sticks) or toasted pita strips.

Serves 12 as an appetiser