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ANTIPASTO

Thinly sliced prosciutto (paper thin)
Genoa salami
chunk tuna fish, packed in oil (Tonno)
hot or milk capicola
celery sticks
black and green olives
carrot, cut into strips
colorful greens for garnishing
strips or slivered Italian hard cheeses
cubes or strips of Italian soft cheeses
cucumbers marinated in olive oil
cherry tomato halves
anchovies
bocconcini
peperoncini peppers
roasted red peppers
thinly sliced fennel
marinated artichoke hearts or quarters
marinated mushrooms
extra virgin olive oil
red wine vinegar

Antipasto salad is a decorative, elaborate and imaginative presentation of fancy cold cuts, vegetables, cheeses, tuna, and other appetizers served in Italian homes on special occasions and holidays.

The ingredients which can be included on an antipasto platter are limited only by the imagination; some of the more traditional items have been listed here. Choose any of these or add your own.

Olives may be stuffed with cheese slivers or with chunks of Italian tuna and wrapped with anchovy strips secured with a toothpick. Thin strips of fancy cold cuts may be wrapped around strips of bread, bread sticks, melon or asparagus spears. Chunks of sharp Italian cheeses can be slivered or cubed; small balls or cubes of fresh mozzarella or bocconcini can be marinated in herb infused olive oil and stuffed inside a ring of red pepper or wrapped in roasted red pepper strips. An entire can of Italian tuna fish, packed in oil and drained (never water packed) is often at the center of the dish with the cold cuts arranged in radiating spokes from the center.

Slice strips of Genoa salami and intersperse them with strips of cheese. Roll thin prosciutto up tightly into logs or cut thicker strips and serve with a toothpick alongside cheese cubes and peperoncini peppers strewn over the top of the antipasto as a first course.

The olive oil that serves as a dressing for the antipasto (to be served on the side) should be infused the day before with basil, oregano and minced garlic. A dash of lemon pepper or freshly grated lemon zest adds a piquancy to the mellowness of the oil. The red wine vinegar should be of excellent quality as a cheap wine vinegar will ruin the entire dish; combine extra virgin olive oil and vinegar in the proportions of a standard vinaigrette, but with somewhat greater emphasis on the olive oil.

Antipasto is meant to whet the appetite with a variety of visually appealing and colorfully festive ingredients just before the main course and is not a meal unto itself. It can be served with chilled sweet or dry vermouth, dry sherry or Marsala.

Submitted by: CM
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Rating: 5 / 5 - Reviews: 2
Dec 28, 10:44 AM
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