Make an Antipasto Plate

8 Aug

My time in Madrid confirmed that my favorite way to eat is to graze.  I’m not the best at portion control, so when faced with a heaping plate of food, I tend to keep on shoveling it in until it’s either all gone or I feel like I’m about to burst.  I do much better with several small meals over the course of the day, when I treat eating more like a pleasant and satisfying activity that a race to the death.

For this reason, I love a good antipasto plate.  I started making them when we had company because the difficulty to deliciousness/beauty ratio is astonishingly low.  Recently, though, I’ve started making them on weeknights when it’s just me and Shawn.  It feels like such a special treat.

I’ve thought a bit about what goes into a good antipasto spread. The first is the vessel on which you will build your antipasto.  I use a bamboo cutting board and recommend using a wood chopping block of some sort.

Next, make sure you’re getting food that’s relatively easy to eat.  I try not to put anything on the board that will require a utensil to eat.

The rest is all about variation- in texture, taste, and appearance.  I’ve come up with seven components of a well-balanced antipasto plate:

  • something fresh: tomatoes drizzled with balsamic vinegar and oil with salt and pepper, cucumbers with spike seasoning, grapes, plums, pears
  • something dippy: hummus, infused olive oil, roasted red pepper and ricotta dip
  • something pickled: (or marinated or brined): pickled okra, chow chow, olives, marinated artichoke hearts
  • something crunchy: crackers (try try making your own almond poppyseed crackers), crusty bread, baked pita triangles, nuts (you can made your own rosemary almonds)
  • something cheesey: brie, goat cheese, manchego and fresh mozarella are my favorites
  • something jammy: jams, preserves or chutneys add a nice sweetness to compliment the tart, salty and creamy tastes on the platter.  dried fruit also works
  • something meaty: prosciutto or cured salami, or try making your own bacon jam

photo by Lauren Knapp

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