Small Tastes Many recipes in this book--soups, salads, risottos, and pastas--can all work very well as first courses. The recipes in this chapter are really more about the little bites offered at the very start of a dinner or gathering, often before anyone even sits down at the table. In Italy, these are called assagini. Think of these recipes as opportunities for you to try out new ingredients and flavor combinations that you might shy away from were the dish to be the bulk of the meal. With these small bites you are neither gustatorily nor financially overcommitted. For instance, raw yellowtail with ginger oil and marinated onions (page 29) is a starter my customers clamor for. But you know your crowd better than I do and maybe they are not so sure about raw fish; by serving it as a small bite you relieve yourself and them from any pressure. If it's not to their liking, they know there is more food to come, while you have not broken the bank on what the same amount of fish as a main course would have cost. Admittedly, some of these dishes are on the fancier side. So my suggestion is this: If you are planning on making one of the more elaborate dishes here, keep the pasta course (if you're having one) and the main course simple. A braise, for instance, would be an ideal main course, since you can make it ahead of time and then reheat it on the night you want to serve it. Finally, a few of the recipes contained here, such as the rabbit salad (page 53) and the scallop and farro ragu (page 42), can also make a delicious light lunch. RAW BLUEFIN TUNA WITH BABY TOMATO SALAD AND MINT Baby greens or the even smaller microgreens are simply greens that have been picked while still very tiny. They are tender, tasty, and sized right for these small appetizer plates. You'll find them at some supermarkets and specialty stores. Other options include pea shoots, mizuna, and watercress. You could also trim larger leafy greens to size. This starter comes together in minutes if you already have some Peperoncino Oil made; you can also try substituting a good purchased chile oil in place of my homemade infused oil. MAKES 6 SERVINGS 4 ounces sashimi-quality tuna, preferably bluefin 10 baby tomatoes (pear or cherry, for example), cut into eighths 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar 1 to 2 leaves fresh mint, finely chopped 1/4 teaspoon snipped fresh chives A couple pinches of sea salt A handful of baby or microgreens 1 teaspoon homemade Peperoncino Oil (page 19) With a very sharp knife, slice the tuna into six equal slices. In a small bowl, gently toss the tomatoes with the oil, vinegar, mint, chives, and a pinch of sea salt. Divide the tomato salad among six plates. Top each with a slice of tuna. Sprinkle just a smidge of sea salt on each slice of tuna. Top with the baby greens and a drizzle of the Peperoncino Oil. Serve immediately. WHICH WINE? This is wonderful with a bubbly glass of rose; try a spumante from Franciacorta (DOCG) in Lombardy, a region made famous by the outstanding quality of its sparkling wines. SCALLOP CARPACCIO WITH SCALLIONS AND LEMON When you eat this dish you may ask yourself: "Why would I ever eat a cooked scallop again?" This recipe is the simplest thing in the world--the bottarga is optional--but within simplicity lies restraint. Make sure the scallops you buy are "dry," have not been treated with chemicals, and are exceedingly fresh. MAKES 6 SERVINGS 4 large sea scallops, preferably diver scallops 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 to 2 scallions, sliced very, very thin on the bias 1 cup micro or baby greens Sea salt Bottarga (see page 6), shaved very thin (optional) SLICE THE SCALLOPS CROConant, Scott is the author of 'Scott Conant's New Italian Cooking More than 125 Recipes for Everyday Eating, Relaxed Weekend Cooking, and Elegant Entertaining', published 0017 under ISBN 9780767916820 and ISBN 0767916824.