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Antipasto Goes Solo

October 14, 1998|ANDY BRODER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Antipasto isn't just a prelude to pizza. At home, you can make it into a salad and call it dinner. It looks fancy, satisfies people's craving for a substantial salad and is easy to make. The salad calls for a lot of ingredients, but most require no more work than opening a jar.

I like to accompany the salad with garlic bread. Most people use butter, but I stumbled upon an old trick once when I ran out of butter and had to improvise with mayonnaise. I was so happy with the result that now I make it nearly every time I cook Italian food.

For dessert, try a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a splash of Frangelico liqueur.

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ANTIPASTO SALAD

When arranging the salad, set most of the ingredients on top of the greens in rows. Others, such as the olives, peperoncini and anchovies, look nice around the edge of the platter, and putting them there lets people who don't like these items to avoid having to pick them out later.

1/2 to 3/4 pound mixed salad greens, such as arugula mix

1 zucchini

1/2 small red onion

16 cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup marinated bell peppers, red or yellow

1 (2-ounce) can rolled anchovies, with capers

1 (6- to 8-ounce) jar marinated mushrooms

1 (6 1/2-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts

12 pickled peperoncini peppers

1/2 pound smoked ham, thinly sliced

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/2 pound Italian salami, 1 or 2 varieties, thinly sliced

1/2 pound provolone cheese, thinly sliced

1/4 pound mixed olives

1 to 2 ounces mozzarella cheese sticks

Rinse and dry salad greens. Put in towel-lined colander and refrigerate to crisp. Can be done several hours ahead.

Slice zucchini into 1/4-inch slices. Slice red onion as thinly as possible and separate into rings by tossing in bowl. Cut cherry tomatoes in half.

Drain liquid from bell peppers, anchovies, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and peperoncini. Cut sliced ham into very thin strips, about 1/4 inch wide.

Remove greens from refrigerator and toss in 1/3 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette. Arrange in mound on platter.

Arrange zucchini, onion rings, cherry tomatoes, anchovies, peppers, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, peperoncini, ham, salami, olives and provolone on greens and around edge of plate. Pull mozzarella sticks into strings and strew down center of salad to form lacy stripe.

Heat remaining Balsamic Vinaigrette over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk vigorously and drizzle to taste over top of salad.

4 servings. Each serving:

522 calories; 1,540 mg sodium; 58 mg cholesterol; 45 grams fat; 12 grams carbohydrates; 23 grams protein; 1.26 grams fiber.

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BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

2/3 cup olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Mix vinegar, oil, garlic, salt, pepper and sugar in small saute pan.

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GARLIC BREAD

1 loaf French or Italian Bread

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 clove garlic, finely minced

Cut bread in 8 slices.

In small bowl, mix mayonnaise, Parmesan and garlic. Spread 1/8 of mixture on each slice of bread.

Place slices spread side up on baking sheet and set under the broiler until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes.

4 servings. Each serving:

465 calories; 1,021 mg sodium; 15 mg cholesterol; 13 grams fat; 72 grams carbohydrates; 14 grams protein; 0.24 gram fiber.

MENU (30 MINUTES OR LESS)

ANTIPASTO COBB SALAD WITH WARM BALSAMIC DRESSING

GARLIC BREAD

VANILLA ICE CREAM WITH FRANGELICO

COUNTDOWN:

30 minutes: Rinse greens and set in refrigerator to crisp. Slice zucchini and onion. Halve cherry tomatoes. Cut ham into strips.

25 minutes: Slice bread. Spread with garlic mixture.

20 minutes: Put vinaigrette ingredients into saute pan. Open all jars and other ingredient containers.

15 minutes: Toss greens and mound on platter. Pre-heat broiler.

12 minutes: Arrange antipasto ingredients on greens.

6 minutes: Put garlic bread in oven. Set Balsamic Vinaigrette over low heat. Finish assembling the salad.

1 minute: Remove Balsamic Dressing from heat and dress salad. Remove bread from oven.

After dinner: Serve ice cream splashed with liqueur.

PANTRY:

Balsamic vinegar

Olive oil

Garlic

Sugar

Salt and pepper

Mayonnaise

Parmesan cheese

INGEDIENTS

SHOPPING LIST:

8 to 10 ounces salad greens

1 zucchini

1 small red onion

16 cherry tomatoes

1 (6- to 8-ounce jar marinated bell peppers (red and or yellow)

1 (2-ounce) can rolled anchovy filets with capers

1 (6- to 8-ounce) jar marinated mushrooms

1 (6 1/2-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts

1 small jar pickled peperoncini peppers

1/2 pound Italian salami, 1 or 2 kinds

1/2 pound smoked ham, thinly sliced

6 ounces provolone cheese, thinly sliced

1/4 pound mixed olives

1 to 2 ounces Mozzarella cheese sticks

1 loaf Italian of French bread

Vanilla ice cream

Frangelico or other hazelnut liqueur

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