While assembling a creamy Italian pasta salad the other day, I get to thinking of antipastos, those colourful platters of assorted foods you often see at Italian family dinner get-togethers; big oval serving dishes of marinated vegetables and cheeses and olives and beans. I’m actually pro antipasto, so I think about how to adapt this to a casual setting. After mentally debating the pros and cons of an antipasto salad, I think; why not toss some well-liked items in a salad bowl and stir in the dressing to sort of pre-marinate the groceries. Let it chill, dish it out and enjoy the flavours of the sunny
Mediterranean in a bowl, even if it’s hot and muggy in my part of the world.
So I came up with this. I like to use cannelloni beans but only had great northern beans in the pantry, so chose them. If you don’t care to bother with dried beans, feel free to use canned but please drain and rinse them thoroughly first. You could use your favourite beans here, like limas or ceci. Antipasto salad makes a nice supper, especially if you are sitting in the shade outdoors. So up the ante and give it a try.
Antipasto Salad serves 8
1cup (250ml) cooked cannelloni or other beans
½ pound (250g) Italian-style cured meats. Prosciutto, sopressata, capicola, genoa and pepperoni would be good. A little of each would be perfecto.
½ pound (250g) assorted diced cheeses: swiss, asiago, provolone, fontinella and havarti, your personal choice.
½ cup (125ml) assorted pitted olives: nicoise, calamata etc. Include some dry- cured olives for a nice mix.
1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
½ cup EACH, coarsely diced red and yellow bell peppers
4 green onions (scallions) trimmed, sliced thinly including the green part
3 tablespoons quality olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
½ teaspoon anise seeds
Red- leaf and Romaine lettuce leaves are good and so is Arugula.
- Slice the sausages thinly, removing any casing. Cut the slices into strips.
- Combine the sausages and all ingredients up to and including the green onions in a handsome, suitable bowl. Stir thoroughly.
- Combine the next 5 ingredients well, making an emulsion, then pour into the salad bowl and stir thoroughly.
- Chill the salad for at least 2 hours, at which time it will be ready to serve.
- Serve on the greens.
Almost everybody can be proactive and enjoy antipasto salad. Won’t you join them?