I don’t know about you guys but when we have a gathering of folks over for dinner, it’s all about the appetizers to be offered with a glass of wine. Or two. Don’t get me wrong. The meal is important …but ya gotta have some good stuff right away. Just to get the party started.
What you see pictured here is merely a suggestion. Included are the items that you’d typically find on your basic antipasti tray. Please don’t think that you must follow this recipe exactly as stated.
If you don’t eat meat, leave out the salami slices. A good substitute would be sliced button mushrooms.
If the Italian peppers are too spicy for the little ones, replace them with mild banana peppers.
Instead of torn mozzarella, you could use mini-mozzarella balls. For more robust flavor, choose small cubes of sharp provolone.
How about additions? You can’t go wrong with halved cherry tomatoes, chickpeas or sun-dried tomatoes.
Make it your way.
If you are using the salami, check it out before you cut into it. Many brands are wrapped in a very thin protective layer of paper that you need to remove before slicing.
I always slice my onion on a mandoline to be sure that I end up with very thin, uniform slices. It doesn’t have to be a fancy expensive one to get the job done. I use my OXO handheld mandoline for basic slicing since it is so convenient.
With the Italian long peppers, remove the seeds to limit the amount of heat.
This vinaigrette is pretty basic and will complement whatever you decide to add to your salad. You can make it a bit more hearty by replacing the red wine vinegar with balsamic vinegar. And the addition of red pepper flakes is optional, of course.
Once the vinaigrette is made, add all of the ingredients up to and including the salt & pepper. Gently toss to be sure it’s all well coated. The salad can be made up to this point a full 24 hours in advance if you prefer.
The lemon zest and fresh basil are not added until just before serving.
Arrange a layer of baby arugula to your serving dish and top it off with the antipasto salad.
Add some crusty artisan bread to the offerings along with a hearty glass of red. That’s how you get a party started.
make-it-your-way antipasto salad
Adapted from Bon Appétit
A no-cook summer salad with a lemony, garlicky dressing. And salami. Long sweet peppers show up at farmers’ markets during the peak of the season and may be sold as long sweet yellow, sweet banana, Hungarian Sweet, or Cubanelle. For this antipasto salad recipe, you can substitute two medium red, orange, or yellow bell peppers but don’t use the green ones.
- 1 garlic clove, finely grated
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed dried oregano
- pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 3 Italian long sweet peppers, thinly sliced into rounds (for less heat, remove seeds)
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced (about 2 ounces)
- 1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained, patted dry, halved
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces
- 4 ounces salami, very thinly sliced
- kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
- zest from 1/2 lemon
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, freshly packed
- 4 cups baby arugula, for serving
Mix garlic, oil, vinegar, oregano, and (optional) red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Add sweet peppers, onion, artichokes, mozzarella, and salami and toss to coat; season with salt and black pepper. Let sit, tossing occasionally, for at least 15 minutes.
Sprinkle the zest of half of a lemon over salad and add basil; toss to combine. Season with more salt and black pepper if needed.
Arrange baby arugula evenly on the platter or bowl. Top off with antipasto salad. Serve immediately.
Salad (without lemon zest and basil) can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
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