The list of Italian contributions to history is manifold, but somehow culinary ones are neglected by most people. The antipasti are part of that trail of enduring gifts from Italy to the world. In fact, the preparation of authentic antipasti is as distinctly varied as the history of the great country that it comes from.
Literally meaning ‘before the meal,’ the antipasti is the Italian equivalent of the French hors d-oeuvres or the Spanish tapas. It consists of a massive combination of tasty foods, combined with the usual wine. And it is meant to do what an appetizer is meant to do: stimulate the appetite before the main course arrives.
If you do it right, an antipasti platter will not only please the taste buds of your guests, but will also provide casual conversation over it. Moreover, it will relax the delegation of guests, and provide a platform for the entire event to move forward smoothly. Whatever the occasion might be, antipasti is an excellent way to have fun during the meal.
How can you make your own antipasti?
The trick with antipasti is that it looks very complicated, but it is absurdly simple to make. Basically, an antipasti platter is a very vivid and colorful offering of marinated vegetables like artichokes, red peppers, pickled garlic and salty olives, combined with artisan bread, cured meat, small helpings of seafoods and a selection of rich cheeses.
The best idea would be to keep things simple, which is almost always the best idea anyone could have. Make your choices and stick to them. Incorporating fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables is always a winner. And when the group is large and you have a lot of hungry bellies lying around you, divide the entire antipasti platter into groups. It will be more comfortable and reachable for everyone.
Pick from your favorite natural deli meats, or some of the more popular cured meats like pepperoni, salami, and prosciutto. Then, add the usual selection of olives, deviled eggs or possibly even roasted vegetables to spice the entire section up. Nonetheless, always remember to keep the selection simple so as to not crowd out the main course.
Here there is ample choice to experiment and mix and match. Mild crackers paired with sardines, anchovies, fish roe, smoked salmon or even fresh tuna. The range of things to choose from is massive. Just match the fish of your choice with cream cheese and marinated onions, and you are good to go.
TAKEAWAY: Since its origins, the artistic nature of the antipasti hasn’t been limited to taste. How the food looks and smells is extremely important for a perfect antipasti platter. A blend of colors, aromas, shapes and textures will make your Italian antipasti platter interesting and engaging.
Fruits, nuts and vegetables
You should prepare something for the vegetarians or vegans on your guest list as well, shouldn’t you? Marinated olives is always a good choice, or olive tapenade, paired with semolina bread, roasted pepper and garlic hummus for the dip. You could also serve fresh cantaloupe in chunks, honeydew, and watermelon paired with cured meats and salted pistachios.
Cheese is always welcome. Look out for exotic cheeses in the market, anything that is out of the ordinary like Rustica, rosemary coated Manchego, Caciotta cheese or even plain Gouda with mustard cheese. You can combine these with traditional cheeses like mozzarella or provolone. Alternatively, you can also pair roasted vegetables with tangy cheeses like Gruyere or aged Manchego. Remember, when it comes to preparing authentic Antipasti platters, cheese, and more cheese is always welcome.
So what are you waiting for? You know what it takes to make Italian Appetizers. But if you would like to get a little more inspiration about which food to put in the platter, here go 7 basic ingredients of traditional Italian food. So, for your next hosting ceremony, delve into the vivid world of the antipasti. You will definitely surprise yourself and your guests in the process!