Tag Archives: Roasted red peppers

Antipasto Salad

Antipasto 002

I had the opportunity to visit Italy several years ago, and one thing I remember is that they made eating an event. There are potentially more courses in a menu than I could even begin to need, but the main eating seems to be the Antipasto course, followed by the Primo course- which is pasta, and then the Secundo course, which is meat based. It is easy to see where Antipasto got its name, coming before the pasta course.

Antipasto is typically cold dishes, and features meats, cheeses and vegetables. In the United States, we will typically have small plates of Salami or Pepperoni, Boconcini or Mozzarella, marinated Artichoke hearts, Olives, and Pepperoncini.

Rather than having multiple small dishes of different foods, this recipe suggests mixing the foods together in a salad. Let me be clear- this recipe is not a fixed specification like most recipes, but is just a starting point for ideas of what to include in an Antipasto Salad. You should add and subtract to make the salad your idea of what gives you the taste of Italy.

Antipasto Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh Basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 small head Romaine
  • 6 oz. roasted red peppers, drained and cut into strips
  • 8 oz. Pepperoncini, drained, and stemmed
  • 8 oz. marinated boconcini or mozzarella, cut into small chunks
  • 6 oz. sliced pepperoni or salami
  • 6 oz. marinated artichoke hearts, drained and halved (if whole)
  • 1 cup oil-cured black olives
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions

  • Combine the Basil leaves and vinegar in a food processor and process until smooth
  • Cut the Romaine into 1 inch pieces
  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes
  • Best when served with a crusty bread


Just a suggestion: If you are going to include the pepperoncini, I would suggest cutting them into rings rather than leaving them whole. They are easier to eat as part of the salad, rather than picking them up by themselves.
Antipasto 008

Again, the above is just a suggestion and a hint of what you might like from the small antipasto dishes to go into your salad. Or you might even want to leave something out, like the pepperoncini if you don’t like the heat.

Potato Salad

This salad came to us from a visit one summer day to my brother John. He fixed a feed for us, and his roommate, whose name is forgotten, made a Potato Salad that was simple, yet very taste. It is a cold potato salad.
salads 008
This salad has very few ingredients. It has no mustard or pickles or any other explicit spices, but presents a clean taste of the potatoes and hard cooked eggs. I think you will enjoy it.

Potato Salad

(Brother John’s roommate)

  • 3 lb. small red potatoes, cooked.
  • 1 cruet Good Seasons Italian or Caesar dressing
  • 6-8 hard cooked eggs, coarsely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sour cream to cover.

While still warm, dice and pour dressing over them. When cool, add eggs, salt, pepper and sour cream. Best served at room temperature.


salads 011
I am assuming that hard cooked eggs are not a problem; if you need help in that area, please send me a comment and I will reply. Likewise, if cooking the potatoes is a problem. I guess I do these often enough that I am assuming all my audience knows how to do these boiling operations.

Warm Vege Salad 003

A different version of a potato salad that I enjoy is a recipe I got from Food Network Giada De Laurentiis called Warm Vegetable Salad. I am giving you a pointer to the salad.
It is surprising how many hits a google search for “Giada Warm Vegetable Salad” returns. It must be growing in popularity.

Giada starts with having you roast your red peppers, and then clean and skin them. Having made this salad a few times, I decided that it was easier to buy a jar of Roasted Red Peppers than to do the job myself. A jar contains about 4 peppers, so I use half the jar, and then freeze the other half; I don’t want it to go bad in the refrigerator. I still have to go over the peppers to check for skin and veins, so maybe I am kidding myself about the work.
Warm Vege Salad 005
Giada says that putting the potatoes into boiling water will cook them in 10-12 minutes; I feel that is misleading – it depends on the size of the potatoes. Generally, when I go shopping, the potatoes are fairly large, and I test them with the tip of the knife for tenderness when I cook them. Sometimes it takes more like 30 minutes to get them tender.

As a result, I have started cutting the potatoes to their final size before putting them in the boiling water; now they tend to be done in the 10 – 12 minute range.

The biggest problem with the salad is that it needs to be made at the last minute, and served immediately. That is hard to do for a larger group, and besides, you want to be talking with your guests and not out in the kitchen.

However, if you decide to take this salad on, believe me the taste is well worth the effort. The lemon brings a bright note to the flavor, and the green beans and roasted pepper add color.