Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Antipasto Platter

Antipasto platters are a great idea to add to your recipe box.  Technically an appetizer that is great to share with a group, Charlie and I also love antipasto platters for a casual, relaxed dinner-for-two.  The ingredients are flexible, can be based on what you have on hand and your personal food preferences.  In this post, I'll share our favorite ingredients.

This was the most recent antipasto platter I made (from left to right: Dubliner cheese, prosciutto, garlic olives, fresh red pepper slices, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh asparagus tips, Genoa salami, fresh sweet onions, kalamata olives, capicola, and feta cheese slices).

Over the last couple of years, we have made quite a few antipasto platters with varying ingredients.  And we love to try new things!  For some ideas to get started, our favorite ingredients are:

Cheeses: Served on the platter, rolled, layered, sliced, or cubed. Choose two to four (note: these suggested amounts of each group can be adjusted based on your number of guests).
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Feta slices
  • Dubliner
  • Chevre (goat cheese)
  • Blue cheese
Meats: Served on the platter, rolled, sliced, or cubed. Choose two to four.
  • Genoa salami
  • Various hard salami's
  • Prosciutto
  • Capicola
  • Smoked ham
  • Other favorite cured meats
Salty: Served on the platter or in small bowls arranged in the platter. Choose two or three.
  • Garlic stuffed olives
  • Kalamata olives
  • Misc. other olives
Vegetables: Served on the platter or in small bowls arranged on or near the platter. Choose two to four (though I have to admit we usually have more vegetables on the platter because we enjoy them so much!).
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Fresh red sweet pepper, sliced
  • Fresh onions, sliced (yellow usually)
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Sliced peperoncini peppers
  • Raw asparagus tips
  • Mushrooms
  • Green onions
Others: Served alongside the platter or in small bowls arranged on the platter.
  • Hard boiled egg slices
  • Toasted walnuts
Breads: Served aside the antipasto platter. Choose one or two (or three if you want!).
  • Various cracker varieties
  • Water crackers
  • Rustic bread slices or loaves
Dressing: I don't always dress the antipasto platter.  We've decided we like it both 'naked' and dressed.  Options are to finish the antipasto platter with a drizzle of good olive oil or balsamic vinegar, or to use the following dressing recipe.   As far as serving,  you can drizzle your topping choice over the whole antipasto platter, or another option is to put the dressing in a small bowl or dispenser on the side of the antipasto platter for guests to add to their plates as they please.

Antipasto Dressing

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Mix all ingredients together and drizzle over antipasto platter.  Double or triple recipe as desired or needed. 

    Presentation:  Start with a large decorative tray or platter or go for a rustic look with a large wooden cutting board.  For just the two of us, I will often use just a dinner plate.  Fill the plate with desired rolled or layered meats, wedges of cheese, and sliced vegetables, alternating in groups and lines for color and balance (see pictures for ideas).  Place small forks on the platter for serving.  Set out appetizer plates and small forks for guests (I also like to have toothpicks).  See below for a couple more photos of our favorite antipasto platters.  Be creative and enjoy! 

    A "dressed" antipasto platter.  This antipasto platter had celery, which we found wasn't a favorite antipasto platter vegetable.

    This antipasto platter was a little too heavily dressed - still tasty though.  We had some Swiss cheese and cucumbers on this antipasto platter which also weren't favorites.

    What do you like to put on your antipasto platters?

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