Antipasto. I love it. I married an Italian and discovered the joys of antipasto. Antipasto translates as “before the meal.” Wikipedia defines it as “the traditional first course of a formal Italian meal.” It goes on to describe “traditional antipasto to include cured meats, olives, peperoncini, mushrooms, anchovies, artichoke hearts, various cheeses, and pickled meats and vegetables.”
Our original family Christmas Eve dinner started with antipasto followed by a large meal. We decided that we enjoyed the antipasto so much, that we should actually make the antipasto the meal. Now I spend months sourcing the finest salami, cured meats, and cheeses I can find. I pickle vegetables from my summer garden with the intention of using them to garnish my Christmas Antipasto. Caper berries, fine olives, anchovies, smoked fish, gourmet crackers, and artisan breads are all carefully thought out and sourced.
I don’t think such a wonderful thing such as antipasto should be confined to one cuisine. I like to come up with different themes for my antipasto. Southern antipasto. French antipasto (Oxymoron? I don’t care.). Greek antipasto. Asian antipasto.
Summer is a great time for antipasto. I love making quick pickles from radishes, green beans, cauliflower, and carrots. They are always better when they are fresh and right out of the garden. Fresh ripe tomatoes, corn, herbs, and cucumbers make delicious salsas which are perfect for antipasto.
Sunday is our day to make our special indulgence meal. Since it’s summer, we didn’t feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen. We went tubing instead. We thought about going out to dinner, then we thought better of it. We thought, “Antipasto!” … and it was fabulous.
Olives and Pickled Peppers.
Cheese Glorious Cheese!
Go Big Antipasto.
Southern Inspired Antipasto with Thinly Sliced Country Ham, Fresh Melon, Local Goat Cheese, Pickled Okra, Green Beans, and Green Tomatoes.
French Inspired Antipasto after a Trip to Cle de Champs, a festival in Eastern Quebec.
Asian Inspired Antipasto with Fresh Vegetable Spring Rolls, Pork Dumplings, Tea Smoked Duck, and Cucumber Salad