Modern Hostess: Antipasto
Have you ever found yourself trying to think of the perfect appetizer to serve to your dinner party guests? Consider an antipasto platter… fun, colourful, and delicious, with a little something for everyone. Antipasto literally means “before the meal”, and is traditionally the first course, or starter, on traditional Italian tables. A typical antipasto platter would include cured meats, like salami or prosciutto, various cheeses, and an assortment of marinated vegetables, like olives, artichokes, and peppers. Similar to a French charcuterie plate, antipasto platters are a great option for entertaining a crowd.
I make my own version of an antipasto platter, adding certain elements to it that are definitely not Italian, such as Greek dolmades (vine leaves stuffed with rice). and Portuguese Chorizo sausage. I use lots of prepared ingredients, such as the dolmades, which come from a can, and marinated roasted red peppers and spicy eggplant, both of which are jarred… that way, I can provide variety without sacrificing time with my guests. I serve slices of bread with my platter, so that people can pile on toppings for a mouthful of flavours at once. My version may not be traditional, but it’s always a huge hit with my guests.
You may notice that olives are noticeably absent from my platter… that’s because I don’t really care for them. But olives are a classic component of an antipasto platter, and are actually loved by many people, so feel free to include them in your platter. Just make sure you also leave a small dish for the pits nearby. As you can see in the recipe below, antipasto platters allow for lots of improvisations, so why not experiment by adding your most-loved appetizer items? Enjoy an antipasto platter at your next dinner party!
-Cured meats (such as salami, prosciutto, or your favourites)
-Assorted cheese (such as provolone, mozzarella, or your favourites)
-A variety of marinated vegetables (such as bell peppers, olives, spicy eggplant, artichokes, giardiniera blend of pickled veggies, or your favourites)
-Grilled sausages (hot Italian, chorizo, or your favourites)
-Prepared Greek dolmades (available canned or in the prepared food section of your grocery store)
-Slices or chunks of bread (such as baguette, ciabatta, or your favourite)
Arrange items decoratively on a platter (For example, I recommend rolling the sliced meats and layering them on top of each other), or on individual plates if serving as first course of a meal.