Thursday, October 27, 2016

Antipasti! - Italian Delicatessen Platter

     An Italian Delicatessen Style Event Platter!
     The word "antipasti" refers to food that is served before the pasta course and entrée course during a formal Italian multi-course meal.  Antipasti basically means the same thing as appetizers.  Antipasti can also be served on its own as a snack, salad or light meal.
     Antipasti is meant to be shared.  Many Italian restaurants offer an antipasto platter for two or more guests.  A typical restaurant antipasto platter consists of a combination of deli style meats, cheese, vegetables and pickle products.  The food on a restaurant style antipasto platter is arranged in a way that increases eye appeal.
     Antipasti can be served banquet style or as a party platter.  An extra large platter of nicely arranged antipasti is a real crowd pleaser.  Guests can pick and choose whatever Italian deli meats, cheeses and goodies that interest them.
     Italian delicatessens offer good antipasto platters and banquet event platters.  This is a nice convenience for last minute occasions or when unexpected guests arrive.  Getting a party platter from the local Italian deli for a big party event at home is a tradition in many old neighborhoods.  Likewise, catering a large banquet with party platters from a local Italian delicatessen is like introducing the flavors of the neighborhood to guests at the event.
     Today's recipe is a simple Italian delicatessen style lunch meat and cheese antipasti platter for about four guests.  The Italian deli meats on this antipasto platter are very nice quality.  Quality is a key thing to keep in mind when selecting items for a deli platter.  The better the quality, the more compliments will be heard from guests.    
     For a deli style antipasto platter, the less complicated the presentation, the better.  The simple design should have a central focal point and the items should flow from the center outward to the guests.  In other words, the design should draw the attention of guests, while the quality of the food items does all the talking!
     Be creative with your Italian deli style antipasto design and make use of traditional order.  For example, Parmigiana Cheese should be next to the Prosciutto, because these two items are traditionally served together.  Salami should be next to the pickled products, because the flavor of these classic preserved items go well together.       

     Marinated Portobello Mushrooms: 
     This recipe yields about 1 cup.
     Sliced mushrooms should only be marinated for a short time or they will become soggy.  It is best to make the marinated mushrooms shortly before serving.   
     Step 1:  Place 1 cup of thin sliced small portobello mushrooms in a mixing bowl.  
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic.   
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of white truffle oil.  
     Add 1 tablespoon olive oil.  
     Add 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 2:  Toss the ingredients together.
     Place the mixing bowl in a refrigerator.
     Chill and marinate the mushrooms for 10 to 15 minutes.
     *Do not marinate the mushrooms for too much time or they will become bitter tasting and soggy.   

     Italian Delicatessen Style Antipasto Platter: 
     This deli style antipasto platter is enough for 2 to 4 guests.
     Quality is the key to a great deli platter.  The better the quality of the ingredients, the more compliments will be heard.  Locally crafted or imported Italian products are far better than national brand "Italian style" products at an average grocery store, so go shopping at a real Italian delicatessen to get the best!
     Try not to leave any gaps or spaces between the meats, cheeses and vegetables.  A deli platter should always look full.
     Step 1:  Place a bed of leaf lettuce on a platter.  
     Mound 1 cup of chopped leaf lettuce on the center of the platter to build some height.  
     Step 2:  Select 3 to 4 ounces of thin sliced Spicy Capicola.
     Fold each slice of Capicola in half.  
     Overlap the folded Capicola slices on a section of the platter.  
     Step 3:  Arrange 3 to 4 ounces of thin sliced Toscano Salami next to the Capicola.   (Toscano salami cannot be folded or rolled or the large pieces of fat will fall off!)  
     Step 4:  Place 2/3 cup of Giardiniera next to the Toscano Salami.  
     Place a few sliced pickled banana peppers on the Giardiniera.
     Place a few olives on the giardiniera.  
     Step 5:  Place 3 to 4 ounces of loosely rolled thin slices of Pistachio Mortadella next to the Giardiniera.  
     Step 6:  Place 3 ounces of loosely rolled thin slices of Sharp Provolone Cheese next to the Mortadella.  
     Step 7:  Place 2 to 3 ounces of thin sliced Parmigiana Cheese next to the Provolone Cheese.  
     Step 8:  Place 3 to 4 ounces of loosely folded paper thin slices of Volpi Prosciutto next to the Parmigiana Cheese.  
     Step 9:  Place the Marinated Portobello Mushrooms next to the Prosciutto.    
     Mound 2/3 cup of thick sliced Roasted Red Bell Peppers (peperone) on the of the antipasto platter.   
     Garnish the peppers with an Italian Parsley sprig.
     *Anchovy filets are optional for this antipasto platter.  I usually garnish the peppers with anchovy filets. 
     Step 10:  Serve with Italian bread or crostini on the side.  
     Serve with olive oil, oregano, red wine vinegar and lemon wedges on the side.  
     Viola!  A nice Italian deli style party platter that is loaded with great flavors!                 

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