Friday, March 16, 2012

Recipe Of The Day: Antipasto Salad Sandwiches

Stepping into a new restaurant for the first time for many people can be overwhelming. Every now and then new terms are used in place of what an item traditionally called thus completely turning off the patron without even knowing what the dish is. 
With a recent trip to a neighborhood Italian Restaurant behind us, a conversation came up about the term Antipasto and what should it include. Traditionally Antipasto (Plural Antipasti) means “before the meal” in Italian, and is often the first formal course in an Italian meal. 
It should include various cured meats, olives, pepperoncini, mushrooms, roasted garlic, anchovies, artichoke hearts, various cheeses and peperone (marinated small green bell peppers, which should not be confused with pepperoni.) 
Typically topped off with olive oil, this dish can take the place of any salad in a heartbeat. Although Antipasto is often compared to hors d’oeuvre’s, it should be noted that they are not the same, as Antipasto is served at the table and signifies the official beginning of a meal, whereas hors d’oeuvre’s are served as a snack before a meal begins.

We put together a recipe for an Antipasto sandwich that is truly amazing and will help introduce you to this staple in the Italian culture. Of course substitutions can be made to your liking, we are simply showing you a traditional version that we have taken a liking too.

½ lb thinly sliced Italian salami (such as Genoa), cut into ¼ inch wide strips
½ lb thinly sliced Jamon Iberico (cured Spanish ham), cut into ¼ inch wide strips
¾ lb fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/3 inch cubes
¾ cup finely chopped celery
¼ cup finely chopped pitted black olives
½ cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup chopped roasted red peppers from jar
1 – whole French bread baguette
2 cups thinly sliced radicchio (from 1 large head)

Combine salami, ham, cheese, celery, and olives in large bowl; toss to blend.
Mix mayonnaise and roasted peppers in small bowl to blend; season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
Cut bread crosswise into 4 equal pieces.
Cut each piece horizontally in half.
Scoop out some soft center from each bread piece, leaving 1/2-inch-thick shell.
Spread dressing in hollow of each bread piece.
Divide salad mixture among bottom bread pieces.
Top salad with radicchio; press bread tops over. (
Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Wrap sandwiches tightly in foil and chill.)

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