Thursday, August 13, 2009

UnRecipe: Antipasto is Anti-work-o

God bless the Italians, getting the notion to serve a small plate of edibles to signal that a meal of even more food is yet to come. I skipped the additional courses, but took the creation of an antipasto platter to heart and put together a satisfying and simple lunch whilst entertaining a visiting friend over the weekend.

No need to be fancy, just dig in! - Photo by Wasabi Prime

I'm quite keen on these no-cook solutions for a meal because it can be simple, made with a collection of items sitting in the refrigerator, and it doesn't require calling the pizza guy in a chronic fit of "I Don't Know What To Cook!"

There's a lot to be said over the value of an ample supply of pickled vegetables. Their briny state ensures a long fridge-life, and they all tend to play well with one another when eaten together. I had a random collection of spiced green beans, cornichons, cocktail onions, as well as a jar of kalamata olives. I'm sure because the label says "cocktail onions" one is supposed to use them in a cocktail, but I have such a merciless love of strong vinegar flavors, I eat them with abandon, a frosty Gibson or some other old-timey cocktail being optional. I also usually have a jar of pepperocinis, but because they are my absolute favorite of the briny bunch, they are of course the first to be consumed into absence. Combined with a few rough slices of sopressata to round out the protein brigade, the savory component of the meal was complete.

While going to the grocery store, Brock (aka, Mr. Prime) and I happened upon a block of creamy havarti (I love you with all my havarti), and a wedge of raw milk blue cheese. The cheese shopping spree also resulted in a jar of fig preserve, a rich, lovely paste that was a delightful combination of sweet and savory. Poured over the cheese, the preserve added a caramelized sweetness and a bit of crunch from the fig seeds in the jam. To add another sweet component to the Salty vs Sweet throwdown, a nectarine was sliced, and it actually went well with nearly everything served.

I didn't want to rely only on the nibbles and made a salad as backup, using lettuce and peas from the garden, so yes, Mom, we had our greens. The only thing that would have made this meal better was if we were eating it outdoors, in a charming picnic sort of way, but the kitchen counter with a glass of wine or two made the meal dandy enough.

Meat, cheese and pickles -- what more could a girl ask for? - Photos by Wasabi Prime

* Post-Script - Thanks to Serious Eats' Photograzing for posting the photo of the antipasto image on their site!

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  1. i heart you fig jam. is that so wrong?

  2. oh man, if loving fig jam is wrong... I don't ever wanna be right!

  3. Definitely want to make fig jam- the ones here in Japan are gorgeous right now! Also a huge fan of antipasto. Antipasto has saved me from many possible disasters and last minute party planning. Very nice!


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