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.
- 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
- 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.
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.