If you’re looking for a quick appetizer for your Labor Day BBQ, this Mediterranean antipasti dish is not only simple to pull together, it’s refreshingly light and savory.

We ordered this at a restaurant in Half Moon Bay called “it’s Italia”, located in the Half Moon Bay Lodge downtown. Their food is above average and while some dishes are banal, others are spot-on delicious—like this simple Italian style antipasti of Castelvetrano olives, Marcona almonds and peppers baked in a small cast-iron skillet with Meyer lemon peel.

The lemon peel gets slightly crisp and adds a nice acidity to the very mild vanilla-like flavor of the Castelvetrano olive. A little heat comes from the Calabrese peppers (found in a jar in most good deli sections), which can also be substituted for a red Fresno or cherry pepper. We topped ours with a a dash of house made smoked Maldon salt, but regular kosher salt would also do well. The last touch is a pinch of ground coriander and Marcona almonds, which add a delicious textural counterpart to the other ingredients.

Simply add all of these ingredients (except for the lemon juice and salt) in a bowl and toss—then bake in a cast iron pan right on the grill (we did ours on the upper shelf) until the lemon peel was a light brown and the almonds toasted. Pull it off the grill and squeeze some fresh Meyer lemon juice on top and salt to taste right before serving.

Buon appetito!

Must Have’s (should be enough for 2-4 to snack on)

  • 1 jar of Castelvetrano olives—(use 3/4 of the jar drained)Jar of Olives
  • 1 Meyer Lemon—peeled and both peels and juice reservedMeyer_Lemon
  • ½ cup of Marcona AlmondsMarcona Almonds
  • 1/2 TBSP of Maldon saltMaldon Salt
  • 1/2 TBSP of ground corianderCorriander Pile
  • 6 Calabrese peppers or substitute—whole cherry peppersCalabrian Peppers
  • Cast Iron Skillet or other fire proof panLodge
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