Monday, April 13, 2009

My New Favourite Thing

I had the privilege of spending this Easter long weekend here in Vancouver with my mom. And as is traditionally done, we ate and drank and cooked and baked for much of the visit. We had a few nice dinners out, but decided to stay in on Friday evening to munch on platefuls of Italian antipasto, which is my new favourite thing to make for guests!

According to Wikipedia, antipasto, or antipasti, means “before the meal” and is the traditional first course of a formal Italian meal. Traditional antipasto includes cured meats, olives, roasted garlic, pepperoncini, mushrooms, anchovies, artichoke hearts, various cheeses (such as provolone or mozzarella) and peperone (marinated small green bell peppers, not to be confused with pepperoni). The antipasto is usually topped off with olive oil.

I prefer to have antipasto as a meal in itself, sort of a late-ish dinner served along with red wine. It's just so simple and tasty and feels super gourmet. Here's my method:

Alisha’s Antipasto

2 red peppers, cut in quarters with seeds and ribs removed
2 yellow peppers, cut in quarters with seeds and ribs removed
1 red onion, chopped into large chunks
1 cup cherry tomatoes, whole
8-10 whole garlic cloves, skin on
1 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick slices
1 large zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick slices
1 bunch thin asparagus spears, ends snapped off

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Arrange all the vegetables in one layer in roasting pans. (Make sure to put the asparagus spears in a separate pan from the other veg.) Drizzle everything with olive oil, and season with coarse salt and pepper. For the asparagus, also add a drizzle of good balsamic vinegar and roll the spears around in the coating.

Add the peppers, onion, tomatoes, garlic, eggplant, and zucchini to the oven to roast.

Remove the eggplant, and zucchini after about 25-30 minutes. (Leave everything else in the oven.) At this point, also add the asparagus spears.

Cook for about 15 minutes and then remove all the vegetables from the oven. (The peppers, onion, tomatoes, and garlic should have been in the oven for about 45 minutes in total.)

Allow the vegetables to cool while you prepare the rest of the food.

Slice up some baguette, and arrange in a large bowl with assorted crackers and breadsticks. Then, place a variety of cheeses on a plate. I stick to sheep and goat cheeses due to my food restrictions, but you can use any cheese of your choice. Finally, arrange some cured meats and olives on a large platter. I often use genoa salami, prosciutto, smoked salmon, garlic shrimp, as well as spicy mixed olives. Once you have the meats and olives arranged, add the cooled vegetables to your platter.

Serve with red wine and enjoy!


moyrad said...

Mmm I love antipasti! My latest favourite is soppressata - spicy cured italian salami. I was wondering what to do for tonight's dinner, now i have an antipasti plan. Yay!

Judy said...

It was definitely MY privilege to spend the Easter weekend with my lovely daughter!!
I can attest to the fact that this meal was satisfying and fun to eat!!


Leeeeesha said...

Michelle - yes, all the varieties of Italian cured salami are wonderful, aren't they? So, how did your antipasti turn out? What did you include in your spread?

Mom - thanks for the compliment! I had lots of fun making and serving this meal. Glad you enjoyed it :)

claire said...

I've had the chance to sample Alisha's amazing antipasti, and I can confirm that it is truly delightful. I love that it's not only super yummy, but so beautiful too. The pictures tell the story!