Thursday, March 01, 2007

DIY: Antipasto.That's Amore!

Wilted Spinach and Garlic Crostini with Parmesan (recipe below)

Crusty breadsticks, plump cherry tomatoes, juicy melon with prosciutto, garlicy bruschettas, meaty green olives, spicy sausages…what's not to love? The good news? You can Do It Yourself!

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Thyme and Garlic (recipe below)

The Italian word “antipasto” literally means ‘before the meal,’ but I love this type of food so much, I served it as the meal at a little Oscars party we had on Sunday.

The term antipasto is very broad as it includes a wide selection of appetizers that may consist of a combination of cured meats, cheeses, marinated vegetables, bread, fish, seafood, fruit and much, much more.
It’s an ideal way to feed people informally if you don’t feel like doing a sit down dinner or if you’re all gathered in the living room around the TV. It’s very easy to prepare, and usually doesn’t involve much more than opening some jars, arranging sliced meats, and locating the best breads around. Using good ingredients and the best quality products is key to a great antipasto! Also important is serving everything at room temperature(unless, of cour
se, it is meant to be enjoyed hot, such as meatballs.) One can better appreciate the flavors if what they are eating is not bone cold.

Prosciutto, Genoa Salami, Mortadella and Calabrese

These spicy Italian sausages were great cooked up, sliced, and served with grainy mustard and gherkins.

Marinated Artichoke Hearts, Bocconcini with Thyme, and Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic

Homemade Focaccia

A selection of non-alcoholic Italian beverages

If you want to have your own antipasto meal, I suggest you start by making a visit to the best Italian grocers in your area; you will find plenty of inspiration there and if you are short on time, you fill find a lot of antipasto items already made up.
Just to get you started, here are a few recipes to try out!

Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Garlic and Thyme

A generous handful of cherry tomatoes
¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Spring of thyme
2 garlic cloves

Combine all ingredients in an oven-proof saucepan. Roast gently at 325F until tomato skins start to crack. Remove from oven and cool.
Serve warm or at room temperature with crusty bread.

Wilted Spinach and Garlic Crostini with Parmesan

Half French baguette, sliced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
2 - 10 oz bags baby spinach
2 teaspoons butter
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 anchovies, minced
½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes

Parmesan, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425F
Brush baguette slices with some of the olive oil and place on baking sheet. Toast until golden brown. Sprinkle with salt and let cool.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and add spinach. ( you may have to do it in two batches, depending on the size of your skillet) Stir often until wilted and it begins to release a lot of its juices. Drain off liquid and turn spinach onto paper towel. Blot spinach dry.

Heat remaining oil in skillet. Cook garlic, anchovies and hot pepper flakes for about two minutes or until golden. Add spinach and toss to coat with oil and garlic sauce. Cook gently until well coated and warm. Season to taste with salt.
Divide spinach among toasted baguette crostinis and top with a shaving of Parmesan.
Serve warm.

Mmm! Makes me want to go whip some up right now! Yes, Tammy, you may substitute goat cheese for the Parmesan, but it won’t be quite as exciting. It really benefits from the sharp, salty Parmesan.

3 comments:

Tammy said...

Haha... yay, goat cheese. Parmesan does look good on these though!

Funny thing... I went out for dinner with a friend last night and ordered the grilled portobello sandwich: sliced portobello mushroom with melted swiss cheese, roasted red peppers, guacamole and tomato sauce stacked on a fresh baked baguette. But, of course, I requested goat cheese instead of swiss. :)

Aimée said...

Tammy,I think you should look into buying some goats...
=)

Miranda said...

That really was an amazing spread....I think we're all so spoiled that we forget to rave about it. good job, Aimee!

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