Antipasto

With Father’s Day coming up tomorrow, I asked Roger if there were anything special he wanted for dinner.  After thinking about it, he decided he would like to have some homemade pizza and maybe some antipasto.  Since we generally watch our carbs, pizza is a real treat for us when we decide to indulge.

During the summertime, I often make a really big antipasto with homemade rolls as our complete dinner.  I talked Roger into having the antipasto for dinner Saturday night since it, too, is special on its own; and I said I’d make a regular salad to go with the pizza on Sunday.

Amy’s boyfriend, Blake was joining us for dinner and was tweaking the website as we made the antipasto.  Blake is the person who set up this site for me, and it never ceases to amaze me how quickly he learned the software code needed to do it.  He’s done a great job creating the site I envisioned.  Web designers charge a lot of money to do this sort of thing.  All I’ve done is feed Blake a few frantastic meals—and, of course, allow him to date one of my beautiful daughters!

Well, Roger and I had fun building the antipasto together with Sara and Amy giving suggestions on what we should do for photos.  I was kept very busy running from the kitchen to the computer and back to the kitchen as Blake had questions on what I wanted tweaked and was showing me what he had done.  When we finally finished the antipasto and sat down to eat it, Roger noticed that we had forgotten an important ingredient—the tuna fish never made it onto the antipasto!

Immediately, I heard refrains of “Oh, my God, the broccoli!”  It is a family joke that goes back quite a few years when one of the girls had their friend, Emily, over for dinner.  Quite often, in the midst of preparing a big dinner, things get a little hectic in the kitchen.  On occasion, I’ll forget something like rolls in the oven or, in this case, tuna for the antipasto.  When Emily was over, we were in the middle of the dinner; and I suddenly realized that I had forgotten about the fresh broccoli I had cooked which was still in the pan on the cooktop.  I immediately jumped up and said, “Oh, my God, the broccoli!”  Well, Emily thought that phrase was the funniest thing in the world.  She kept repeating it and laughing which was infectious, and none of us could stop laughing as I served the broccoli.  It is now our family’s catchphrase for whatever any of us (usually me) forgets.

So, in case anyone with eagle eyes wonders why there is no tuna on the antipasto in the photo, you have your answer.  The antipasto was so good that it took us a while to miss the tuna, but it is exceptional with it, so don’t leave it out.

A note on the dressing—through the years, I have tried several homemade Italian dressings.  While some of them were reasonable, none of them were as tasty as good old Good Seasons.  In this instance, I figure “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Antipasto

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Since antipasto is not anything one cooks but merely assembles, there is a lot of latitude in the quantity of ingredients as well as the variety of ingredients (you may not have any anchovy or pepperoncini lovers in your family).  The antipasto I made was a very large one and made six large dinner-sized portions.  The ingredients I have listed are based on this.  As always, feel free to adjust to your family size and/or whether you want leftovers.

Ingredients

  • 3 heads of Romaine hearts (I prefer Romaine over the standard iceberg lettuce)
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs (I planned on one per serving)
  • 18 meat roll-ups (three per serving), made up of baked ham, provolone cheese, and Genoa salami

Note:  Instead of telling the deli the weight of ham, provolone, and salami, I want—I tell them the number of slices of each that I want depending on how may rolls I plan to include in the antipasto.  I also tell them to cut the ham, provolone, and salami, very thin for rolling up for the antipasto.  The Italian deli I go to understands exactly how to cut the meat and cheese when I say I’m making an antipasto.  If the cold cuts are not sliced thinly enough, they will be difficult to roll.  Have them hold up a slice for you.  It should be almost paper thin.  Because the provolone is so much wider than the salami, I always cut it in half for each roll-up.  So, for my antipasto, I had the deli cut 18 slices each of ham and Genoa salami and 9 slices of provolone.  (OK, I’ve just told a little white lie—I actually told them to cut a couple of extra slices of each just in case someone decided to eat one while I was making them!)

  • 1 6-oz. can of tuna in water
  • 1 each:  large green pepper and large red pepper, sliced into rings
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 6 pepperoncini
  • Approx. 1 cup of black olives
  • Approx. 1 cup of Spanish Manzanilla olives
  • Small can of anchovies, optional (or served on side)
  • Dressing:  1 packet of Good Seasons Zesty Italian, made according to directions

Directions

Place the ham, provolone (which you have cut in half), and salami in three piles on a cutting board.  Assemble the meat rolls-ups by laying out a slice of ham, placing a half slice of provolone on the ham, followed by a slice of salami.  Starting at the shorter end, roll up until you have finished rolling up the number you planned on having.  Set aside.

Chop Romaine lettuce and place on a very large platter.  Cut hard-boiled eggs in half and arrange around the outside edge of the platter.  Arrange the meat roll-ups around the outside of the platter as well.  I like to place them under the lettuce so that only half of the rolls are sticking out.

Sprinkle the tuna over the top of the romaine.  Arrange the bell pepper rings in a decorative fashion over the tuna, followed by the red onion.  Sprinkle the chopped tomatoes over all.  Strategically place the pepperoncini so that it is visually balanced.  Sprinkle both the black and Spanish olives over the antipasto.  I served the anchovies on the side.

Serve antipasto with salad dressing separate so that people can use as much or as little as they want.  Accompany with a loaf of warm, crusty Italian bread or rolls and perhaps a glass of wine, and you’ll have a very enjoyable meal.

Source: A frantastic original as well as an original by every Italian I know!

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