Chantal Lascaris reinvents classic dishes into tasty tapas. Try her recipes

The foodie shares moreish mouthfuls from her new cookbook, 'All sorts of Tapas'

04 July 2021 - 00:01 By sanet oberholzer
Chantal Lascaris, author of 'All Sorts of Tapas'.
Chantal Lascaris, author of 'All Sorts of Tapas'.
Image: Donna Lewis/All Sorts of Tapas

"I've always been interested in health and finding a balance between eating and exercising properly and still enjoying life," says cookbook author Chantal Lascaris.

"I believe you can create tasty, healthy meals yourself, so I decided to start experimenting with my own menus, which led to me creating my cookbook series, All Sorts".

Lascaris says the concept behind All Sorts is to provide cooks with ideas and simple recipes that are healthy and can be prepared using ingredients that are easily accessible.

Here, she tells us more about the inspiration behind the latest book in the series, All Sorts of Tapas:

To me, each tapas is like a little painting because of the variety of offerings and different flavours they provide.

I take my inspiration for my recipes from a variety of places — restaurants, other people's cooking, or travelling.

.All Sorts of Tapas' by Chantal Lascaris is published by Struik Lifestyle, R280.
.All Sorts of Tapas' by Chantal Lascaris is published by Struik Lifestyle, R280.
Image: Donna Lewis/All Sorts of Tapas

I've been lucky enough to spend time travelling throughout the Mediterranean. Their way of eating is one of the healthiest and, living in SA, is an easy lifestyle to follow.

For this book I took a lot of inspiration from the pintxos and tapas bars in San Sebastian, a region of Spain.

I love the enthusiasm the Spaniards have for the sheer joy of eating small, delectable mouthfuls while drinking, so have tried to bring the richness of Spain's regional variations, styles and attitudes while incorporating some uniquely South African flavours to my recipes.

TRY SOME OF LASCARIS' TAPAS RECIPES

CHICKEN PARMIGIANA ON BRINJAL SLICES

"This recipe turns chicken parmigiana from a classic meal into a moreish mouthful," says Lascaris. "These crisply fried brinjals topped with melted cheese, chicken and a savoury tomato sauce are guaranteed to keep everyone happy."

"Brinjal has a spongy, porous texture, which makes them great for absorbing flavours. They're also full of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre," she adds.

Chicken parmigiana on brinjal slices.
Chicken parmigiana on brinjal slices.
Image: Donna Lewis/All Sorts of Tapas

Ingredients:

125g emmental cheese, grated

125g parmesan cheese, grated

4 chicken breast fillets

Salt and pepper to taste

16 slices brinjal, about 3mm thick

30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil

1 shallot, finely chopped

5ml (1 tsp) finely chopped garlic

5ml (1 tsp) dried basil

5ml (1 tsp) dried parsley

5ml (1 tsp) dried origanum

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

Rocket leaves to garnish.

Method:

  1. Combine the 2 cheeses and set aside.
  2. Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make them thinner.
  3. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
  4. In a large preheated pan, dry-fry the brinjal slices on both sides until softened. Remove and set aside.
  5. In the same pan, heat the olive oil, add the chicken fillets and cook on both sides until just cooked through and golden. Be careful not to overcook the chicken. Remove the chicken, cover to keep warm and set aside. 
  6. In the same pan, cook the shallot, garlic, the dried herbs and tinned tomatoes for about a minute, stirring to combine all the ingredients.
  7. Cut the chicken fillets in half so they fit on the brinjal slices.
  8. Arrange the brinjal slices on a greased baking sheet, top with chicken and a spoonful of tomato mixture. Generously scatter over the grated cheese.
  9. Place the baking sheet under the grill until the cheese has melted.
  10. Garnish with a rocket leaf or two. Serve immediately.

BOBOTIE CUPS

"It is alleged that the first bobotie recipe appeared in a Dutch cookbook in 1609 and was brought to SA by the Dutch settlers, where it was embraced by the Cape Malays," says Lascaris.

"In this recipe, the classic dish is given a minor makeover by being served in individual rice cups. None of that hearty and comforting flavour is compromised."

Bobotie cups.
Bobotie cups.
Image: Donna Lewis/All Sorts of Tapas

Ingredients:

30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil

10ml (2 tsp) finely chopped garlic

1 onion, chopped

10ml (2 tsp) finely chopped ginger

5ml (1 tsp) curry powder

5ml (1 tsp) ground turmeric

5ml (1 tsp) ground cumin

5ml (1 tsp) ground coriander

5ml (1 tsp) ground cinnamon

500g lean beef mince

1 slice white bread

1 bay leaf

30ml (2 tbsp) water

30ml (2 tbsp) Worcestershire sauce

30ml (2 tbsp) tomato paste

45-60ml (3-4 tbsp) chutney

30ml (2 tbsp) lemon juice

½ apple, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

Plain yoghurt for serving

Chopped banana to garnish

Rice cups:

2 eggs

250ml (1 cup) cooked basmati rice

Salt and pepper to taste

Custard topping:

250ml (1 cup) milk

2 eggs

30ml (2 tbsp) butter, melted

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. In a large pot, heat the oil and sauté the garlic, onion and ginger until the onion has softened.
  2. Add the spices and stir for a minute.
  3. Add the mince and continue to cook until the mince has browned. Stir often to remove lumps.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients, except the yoghurt and banana, and continue to simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, take out the bay leaf and set aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  6. To make the rice cups, combine the eggs, cooked basmati rice and salt and pepper. 
  7. Using a greased muffin tin, place a spoonful or two of rice mixture into each muffin hole and press it down and up the sides, covering most of the hole.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the rice is golden and set.
  9. Remove the muffin tin and add a spoonful or two of meat mixture to each rice cup.
  10. Combine the custard-topping ingredients, season with salt and pepper, and pour a small amount over the meat.
  11. Bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes or until the custard has set.
  12. Remove the muffin tin and, once cool enough to handle, remove the bobotie cups and serve with a dollop of plain yoghurt and a garnish of chopped banana.

MOROCCAN LAMB TAPAS

"When the fat has been trimmed, lamb can be an excellent choice for a healthy diet as it's rich in high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals," says Lascaris.

"This tapas dish of tender lamb coated in a heady mix of Moroccan spices, nestled on a bright green pea purée, is intoxicating. The medley of sweet and savoury flavours lends a coolness that balances out the spice perfectly."

Moroccan lamb tapas.
Moroccan lamb tapas.
Image: Donna Lewis/All Sorts of Tapas

Ingredients:

550g lamb loin chops, bones and fat removed

Vegetable oil, for frying

Plain full cream yoghurt to garnish

Micro herbs to garnish

Edible flowers to garnish, optional

Moroccan spice:

Ingredients:

550g lamb loin chops, bones and fat removed

Vegetable oil, for frying

Plain full cream yoghurt to garnish

Micro herbs to garnish

Edible flowers to garnish (optional)

Moroccan spice:

5ml (1 tsp) ground cumin

5ml (1 tsp) ground coriander

5ml (1 tsp) ground ginger

2.5ml (½ tsp) ground cinnamon

2.5ml (½ tsp) cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Pea purée:

¼ tsp finely chopped garlic

5ml (1 tsp) olive oil

125ml (½ cup) vegetable stock

250g frozen baby peas

30ml (2 tbsp) lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

30ml (2 tbsp) plain full cream yoghurt

40ml (2½ tbsp) finely chopped fresh mint

Method:

  1. Cut the lamb into bite-size pieces. 
  2. To make the Moroccan spice, combine the spice ingredients in a bowl. Toss the lamb pieces in the spice mix, coating well. 
  3. In a preheated pan, heat 15ml (1 tbsp) of vegetable oil and quickly sauté the lamb pieces, ensuring that they're seared but not overcooked.
  4. Remove and allow to rest while you make the pea purée. 
  5. In a small pan, sauté the garlic in the olive oil. Once softened, add the vegetable stock, frozen peas and lemon juice. Simmer for 3-4 minutes until the peas soften. 
  6. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper, set aside to cool. 
  7. Place the pea mixture in a blender together with the yoghurt and mint and blend until smooth.
  8. To serve, add a dollop of the pea purée to individual bowls and place a piece or two of the lamb on top. Garnish with yoghurt, scatter over some micro herbs and serve.

• 'All Sorts of Tapas' by Chantal Lascaris is published by Struik Lifestyle, R280


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