Lakeside Tapas


This is the fourth post of a series developed by Casetta Kitchen. Casetta Kitchen is a Madison, WI based counter style Italian American deli and is owned by Elizabeth's brother, Tommy Gering, and childhood best friend, James Juedes. Many of the recipes used in their deli have been created around the family table in their cabin in northern Wisconsin; Casetta meaning "little house" is their ode to the Northwoods.


After a long, sunny day on the boat, it’s nice to make a few small plates (or tapas) for dinner instead of an entire meal. We like fresh, light, + seasonal dishes that come together quickly so we can spend more time enjoying a glass of wine with friends and family on the dock. Here are some of our current favorites that focus on seasonal ingredients - tomatoes, corn, + eggplant. Serve alone or add them as a side dish to your favorite summer entrees.


Seasonal Blistered Tomatoes with Toast

Serves 4 people

Casetta Suggested Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley, France

Our favorite summertime tomatoes for this dish are Sun Gold cherry tomatoes (the orange ones!) or any type of heirloom tomatoes. We like to use caselvetrano olives because they are rich, buttery, + delicious; if you cannot find them in your store, substitute your favorite olive instead. Depending on how many people you are serving the amount of ingredients can be adjusted from one person or even twenty!


1 pint of assorted cherry tomatoes
¼ cup castelvetrano olive, pitted
An assortment of herbs (basil, oregano, parsley – chopped)
olive oil
maldon salt
loaf of your favorite artisan bread


In a medium size sauté pan, heat olive oil and add tomatoes. Let them sizzle and do not move them until they are starting to pop. Stir around for a minute or two, just until they are warmed and with a little “charred” color, season with salt.
Right before you are about to take them out of the pan, add in the olives just to warm them slightly.
Transport to the bowl you are serving them in and drizzle with olive oil, chopped herbs, and maldon sea salt.
Slice a loaf of bread about ½ - 1 inch thick and toast in the oven or in a pan with olive oil.
Serve the bread on the side and scoop the tomatoes on the bread for each bite!



Grilled Mexican Corn (Elote)

Serves 4 people

Casetta Suggested Beer Pairing: Modelo Especial

When corn is in season it is so addicting – and this recipe is perfect because you can make as many ears of corn as you would like and just make more sauce as needed! If you can not find cojita cheese in your grocery store, substitute Feta cheese. If grilling isn't your style, turn your oven broiler on high and continuously rotate until golden brown.


4 ears of corn – cleaned
¼ cup of mayonnaise
½ cup of sour cream
1 tsp of chili powder
a pinch of cayenne, to taste
¼ cup of cilantro
¾ cup of cojita cheese, crumbled
limes, cut into wedges


In a bowl combine the sour cream, mayo, cilantro, ½ cup of the cheese, chili powder, and cayenne. Set aside.
Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Place cleaned corn directly on the grate and rotate until it’s charred and evenly cooked, about 5 minutes.
Once cooked, place the corn onto a plate and spoon over the sauce, sprinkle with more cheese
Serve with a dusting of chili powder, and a squeeze of lime.



Baba Ganoush

Serves 4 people

Casetta Suggested Wine Pairing: Barbera from Piedmont

Baba Ganoush is one of our all time favorite appetizers in the summertime when eggplant is in season, best served with Pita or fresh vegetables. It is a technique where the eggplants are cooked whole until completely tender and have a smoky flavor from the grill.


4 medium Italian eggplants
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2- 3 lemons juiced, taste as needed
¼ cup of tahini
½ cup of olive oil, divided
bunch of parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of cumin


Preheat grill to medium – low heat. Place the eggplant on the grill and turn occasionally until it’s tender and charred – about 45 minutes. Wrap in foil and let it rest for a few minutes.
Carefully scoop out the flesh with a large spoon and make sure to remove as much of the blackened skin as possible. Place into a strainer to remove any excess liquid.
Mash the eggplant in a bowl until chunky but broken up.
Mix together the minced garlic, lemon juice, tahini, ¼ cup of olive oil, parsley, salt & pepper, cumin – add in the eggplant. Taste – and adjust seasoning by salt and lemon juice.
Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with the remaining olive oil.  

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