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Antipasto Platter
Antipasto (small appetizers) are a traditional start to any Italian feast, and literally means "before the meal." However, because antipasto is so easy to put together, looks and tastes spectacular and is fun to eat, we serve it at home as a casual meal in itself with a glass or two of wine or cold beer to complete the scene. There's no cooking required which makes it wonderful relaxed weekend fare.

2 oz (60g) sliced smoked salmon
2 oz (60g) thinly sliced salami
1 oz (30g) Parmigiano Reggiano—shaved
1 oz (30g) mozzarella cheese—cubed
6 pieces of jarred roasted red pepper
6 sun-dried tomatoes
2 marinated artichoke hearts—quartered
10 whole black olives
Fresh basil sprig, to garnish
6 grissini (small thin Italian bread sticks)


ARRANGE the ingredients on a large platter (see photo) and serve.

Variations: Antipasto can be as simple or as majestic as you like. Visit your local delicatessen to explore the almost endless choice of delectable possibilities. You can include any other cold cooked meats, seafood or vegetables including: thinly sliced Italian prosciutto (wrap a piece of prosciutto around some thin wedges of cantaloupe, honeydew melon or fresh figs if desired); canned tuna in olive oil-drained and broken into chunks; other preserved foods like capers and anchovy fillets; sauces such as pesto; fresh seasonal vegetables including tomatoes, blanched asparagus and green beans; and grilled vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms.



  Fava Beans with Marinated Artichoke Hearts and Olives. A tasty Greek appetizer with succulent kalamata olives, tender fava beans and marinated artichoke hearts.


  Dolmades. Delicate parcels made from grape leaves stuffed with long-grain rice, toasted pine nuts, fresh herbs and seasonings.


  Champiñones al Ajillo (Spanish Garlic Mushrooms). A popular Spanish tapas dish, champiñones al ajillo is mushrooms sautéed with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and typically seasoned with flat-leaf parsley, salt, freshly ground black pepper and chili.


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