This week I had the opportunity to entertain on a Monday. This is an odd evening to have friends in as it is the beginning of the work/school week, the festive atmosphere quickly confuses you into believing it’s a Saturday, and there is no recovery day at the end. Regardless, my out-of-town friend, his two sons, and our good friends and their two daughters joined my family of five for a fun night in at Casa 187. Knowing the week increasingly intensifies schedule-wise, I chose to make an executive decision and order pizza for our main course that my husband could pick up on the way home from work. I make fantastic pizza at home with a Boboli crust and my own homemade pesto sauce, but I was going for easy and my four year old who refuses to eat my pizza exclaimed upon hearing we were having pizzeria pizza, “Oh good, I LOVE that pizza!” So, the order was placed. But, being the diehard entertainer I am, I felt it necessary to add my own homemade touch to the evening. First I whipped up vanilla bean cupcakes with triple chocolate icing (mini chips in the frosting as added decadence) and had the four year old help me decorate them with 3 different kinds of sprinkles. Then I went to the market to assemble the ingredients needed to make my favorite antipasto to serve as an appetizer/salad before the pizza. It is that recipe that I am divulging today.
Chief 187’s Antipasto
The following ingredients are merely a guide; use only what you like, substitute your favorite items, omit what you don’t like. Amounts are based on how many are eating,
1 bag salad with Romaine
1 jar Giardiniera (pickled vegetables)
1 can tuna
1 can garbanzo beans (chick peas)
1 can/jar olives (black, green with pimentos or a mix)
1 can quartered artichoke hearts
Several thin slices of salami, soppressata, pepperoni, and/or ham
Equal slices provolone or other Italian cheese thinly slices
Parmigiano Reggiano shavings (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil
Vinegar (balsamic/red wine)
Using the largest platter available fitting for the amount of ingredients you are using, lay the salad green all over the platter as a “bed”. Antipasto should be aesthetically pleasing so placement of ingredients is vitally important to create the overall effect. Next, place the Giardiniera equally over the four points of your platter – North, South, East, West – with a slotted spoon; reserve pickled juice for dressing. Hollow out a portion of the middle of your platter where the greens are and simply add your drained tuna (not prepared salad) to the center of your platter. Lightly add some of the reserved pickle juice to moisten and flavor your tuna. Open, drain, and rinse the can of garbanzo beans. Sprinkle them liberally all over the platter. Open the can/jar of olives, drain but don’t rinse. Place them liberally around the platter as well. Drain but do not rinse the artichoke hearts and scatter them around the platter. To make your antipasto look restaurant quality and artistic, take one piece deli-sliced meat and one piece of cheese and place them on top of one another on a cutting board, working with only two pieces at a time (1 meat slice, 1 cheese slice). Cut a slit from outer edge to the center and stop. Curl the meat/cheese into a cone overlapping the meat/cheese where the slit is. Nestle the cone onto your platter amongst the other ingredients as your ‘decoration’. Repeat until all remaining meat/cheese cones are scattered pleasingly around the entire platter. If using Parmigiano Reggiano, secure a hunk from the grocery store and, after letting it sit out for a short while, use a vegetable peeler to create shavings to strew over the entire antipasto. This cheese is flavorful and quite expensive. Use sparingly as a garnish. To dress the salad you can use more of the pickled juice from the Giardiniera or lightly spritz the entire platter with extra virgin olive oil and vinegar of choice (vinegar is actually supposed to be added first, then the oil); use less than you would to toss a salad. You don’t want to flood your ingredients. Put the oil and vinegar on the table for people to add more if need be. Finally, add pepper to taste.
If having a larger crowd simply double your ingredients or more! This recipe as it appears can serve as few as four people or as many as ten depending on what else you are serving to eat.
I am always curious how the recipes I post go over with the readers. If you try this, please let me know how your enjoyed it. If you have a recipe to share, please do so! I hope this starter/meal makes it on to your table in the near future. Thank you for sharing a part of your Thursday with me. I hope you return tomorrow for the Friday Music Blog, always a terrific way to rock our way into the weekend!