A+ Antipasto salads: taste the best, or build your own
When I think of Italy, I think of gondolas, winding canals, romantic cafes, and seaside villages. I think of the most romantic cities in the world. Places full of charm, history, and tasty foods.
One of the foods that I can never get enough of is Italian antipasto salads (quite a sexy salad).
“Antipasto” translates to “before- the-meal.” This beautiful creation can be served as a meal all by itself, a party appetizer, or (as stated by its meaning), a pre-dinner delight.
In Wilmington NC, you can find one of my favorite antipasto salads at Pizzetta’s Pizzeria (1144 E Cutlar Crossing in Leland and 4107 Oleander Drive in Wilmington). Either location offers up their own impressive version, their “Antipasto de Casa.” This beautiful creation is constructed with fresh ingredients and topped with a delicious pesto vinaigrette dressing.
I could eat these salads up multiple times a month, so I’ll share with you the best way to create your own gorgeous antipasto salads.
The typical ingredients of a true antipasto consist of:
- cured Italian meats
- various cheeses (fresh mozzarella and provolone)
- roasted red peppers
- marinated artichoke hearts
- oil vinaigrette dressing
Other countries put their own twist on beautiful antipasto salads, often adding lettuce, parmesan, cold pastas, and even re-creating the traditional dressings.
Are you ready to create your own antipasto?
Let me share with you my version. Harris Teeter and your local farmers market have all of the fine ingredients you need to make this Italian delight. I start off by buying marinated artichokes, fresh tomatoes (check out the offerings of our local farmers), fresh mozzarella, green olives (sometimes I will buy them stuffed with cheese or anchovies), thinly sliced Genoa salami and prosciutto, marinated vegetables in oil or Italian Giardiniera.
I layer this masterpiece of a salad beautifully on a platter, drizzle it with a nice quality olive oil and a few dashes of a red wine vinegar, and serve with a side of garlic focaccia bread.
Want to cut back on some of the oil or pickling? Add more fresh vegetable options and less marinated. At times, I will even change my homemade antipasto salad up slightly by arranging these ingredients over a bed of romaine lettuce. Sounds delish, right?
Our team at Port City Foodie would love to see you get out there, buy the freshest ingredients, find the most interesting authentic Italian items, and make your own version of an antipasto. Post your pictures and suggestions in the comments below.
If you are not quite the culinary artist, and this article has your mouth watering, don’t forget that Pizzetta’s offers an A+ antipasto!
Contributing blogger: Sarah Koob is a foodie, home cook, and lover of seafood, Bloody Marys, and is always up for any kind of food adventure.