SheKnows chats with Brassaii executive chef Chris Kalisperas about how he came up with the spring menu, and we get him to share the recipe for one of our favourite dishes at this Toronto restaurant.
Every season, restaurants — including Toronto hot spot Brassaii — revamp their menus. For inspiration for its current spring menu, Brassaii’s executive chef, Chris Kalisperas, looks to availability of ingredients. “What’s coming into season and the proper pairings of the ingredients are what inspire a new menu,” he says. “It takes a lot of research to come out with a new menu, and at Brassaii we try to keep things fresh, so we make menu changes every Monday.”
What are some of the key things Kalisperas aims for when creating a spring menu? “As the weather gets warmer, the dishes get lighter, especially the appetizers. As for the mains , we try to find a balance of light yet also something filling and of value to the customer,” he says. Musts include at least one pasta dish. His personal favourite at the moment? The seared scallop dish, which features almond gazpacho, chickpeas, chorizo and pea shoots.
While the scallops are scrumptious, one dish SheKnows can’t get enough of is the burrata appetizer — and we got Kalisperas to share the recipe.
Brassaii’s burrata appetizer
- 1 medium-size eggplant
- 1 burrata, about 100 grams (local Ontario buratta)
- 20 grams peeled and sliced toasted almonds
- 10 grams fried rosemary
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon reduced white balsamic vinegar
- 1 heirloom tomato
- Cut the eggplant lengthwise into four slices, each about 1/2 inch thick.
- Season with salt, pepper and olive oil, then grill the eggplant slices on both sides, turning every minute. Set the eggplant to the side until plating time, allowing it to cool for at least an hour.
- In a pan, add the peeled and sliced almonds, and toast them over medium heat, turning them every minute for 4 minutes.
- To plate the dish, fold the four eggplant slices in half, and place them horizontally on the plate.
- Place the burrata on top of the eggplant.
- Garnish with the toasted almonds and rosemary.
- Add two slices of heirloom tomato, either fresh or dehydrated.
- Add the olive oil and balsalmic vinegar to the dish, then salt and pepper to taste.