Oh Dear... it’s one of those days that you've got no appetite and most of all I can't eat anything. But the dinner with friends is set for 2pm... Mamma mia! What am I going to do now? I flip through the culinary books and magazines nervously but none of the recipes satisfy my capricious taste today...I look at photos of beautiful dishes and they do not move me somehow... After half an hour of browsing through I find it... Yes yes, I got it!!! I yell at the entire kitchen... and at that moment the phone rang - 'Beloved, we just left the house, and will see you in an hour...' - announced friends. OMG, and I haven’t even started... oh well, I have to quickly think of something to impress them before the main course and even stimulate the appetite for what is about to begin. And once again, I realized why I love the Italian way of eating, relaxing and indulgence in the kitchen... They are the ones who invented antipasti, appertizers... or whatever you wanna call it...
The history of antipasto traces back to the ancient Romans who featured antipasto as a stimulant before the main meal. It evolved from two very different cultural conditions – extreme wealth and the poverty of necessity. The wealthy used the antipasto as a prelude to a multi-coursed banquet. For the poor, antipasto was a street food eaten while working or shopping.
Like the opening credits for a film, the appearance of the antipasto announces to the crowd that something special is about to begin. Even the sight of small appetizers beautifully prepared can change the mood of gathering, luring guests to the table... And their main purpose is to stimulate the appetite (which I need today) and the taste buds without a sense of fullness. It is served cold or at room temperature, its components as colourful as possible. But most of all, they need to encourage your guests to start the meal... even if your appetite is not agreeing with you today...
A good antipasto plate will always have some combination of fresh melon or tomatoes, thinly sliced cured meats like prosciutto, marinated olives or mushrooms, vegetables, cheese, and seafood. Look what we did...
Serrano Ham thinly sliced
Honeydew Melon bites
Thin flakes of Parmiggiano Reggiano
A pinch of freshly ground pepper
A few drops of raspberry-blasamic glaze
Recipe for Raspberry -Balsamic Glaze
2 cups fresh raspberries
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring 1 cup raspberries, the balsamic vinegar, and the sugar to a simmer. Allow the mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 to 20 minutes. The balsamic glaze is done cooking when it has reduced in volume and thickened.
All components of your antipasto arrange on the plates, sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and drizzle with rasberry-blasamic glaze. Serve before main meal and you'll see the faces of your guests! They will be delighted!