Antipasto (Italian – before the meal) simply refers to the dish that precedes all the others to come. It should be colorful allowing the senses to awaken and gets the palate ready for the meal that follows. It is there to whet the appetite and not be too filling. A typical antipasto dish consists of cured meats such as prosciutto, salami, coppa, speck, mortadella. Arrange the meats on a large platter and serve with various hard cheeses, such as Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano-Reggiano and garnished with a variety of olives, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Many scrumptious ingredients go into an antipasto dish so why not convert it into a salad? After all, antipasto is before the meal and in English it’s called an appetizer. Or if you’re French, it’s called an hors d’oeuvre. Whatever you choose to call it, this is one heck of a salad bursting at the seams with flavor and color!
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (use white if you can)
- 1 clove of garlic, mashed into a paste
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- romaine lettuce, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
- handful basil leaves, torn into small pieces
- handful Italian parsley leaves
- 1 whole roasted red or yellow pepper, sliced
- marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
- handful pitted black olives, rinsed and sliced
- roasted tomatoes
- fresh mozzarella, drained and torn apart
- sliced salami
- In a medium bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, garlic and maple syrup until well combined. In a thin stream while whisking pour olive oil into mixture until it emulsifies.
- In a large bowl combine lettuce, garbanzo beans, basil and parsley leaves. Pour half the vinaigrette over lettuce mixture and toss to coat well. Spread lettuce mixture out onto a large platter. Scatter roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, olives, roasted tomatoes, mozzarella, and salami on top of lettuce. Drizzle remaining dressing over salad and season with freshly ground black pepper.