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The Antipasto Table
     

The Antipasto Table

by Michele Scicolone, Linda Kocur (Designed by)
 

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Walk into any restaurant or trattoria in Italy and you'll be greeted by antipasto tables laden with platters of colorful salads, tender seafood dishes, regional salamis and cheeses, and fresh vegetables prepared in every way imaginable. With this inspiring collection of two hundred versatile, simple-to-prepare recipes, Michele Scicolone recreates these antipasto

Overview

Walk into any restaurant or trattoria in Italy and you'll be greeted by antipasto tables laden with platters of colorful salads, tender seafood dishes, regional salamis and cheeses, and fresh vegetables prepared in every way imaginable. With this inspiring collection of two hundred versatile, simple-to-prepare recipes, Michele Scicolone recreates these antipasto tables at home. The Antipasto Table includes many traditional favorites passed down by the author's family as well as new interpretations based on her own travels in Italy, and even some antipasti new to this country.

Imagine a table of hot antipasti -- fresh mozzarella rolled in bread crumbs and fried until crisp outside and melted within or grilled calamari with oregano and white wine. Or sample the cold dishes -- Sicilian eggplant salad or trout marinated in olive oil, vinegar, and sage. Bread-based antipasti include taralli, fennel-laced biscuits, perfect with a glass of red wine; and bruschetta, grilled country bread topped with fresh tomatoes and herbs or Gorgonzola and pine nuts.

This marvelous cookbook also features special sections on the art of preparing vegetables and selecting the proper wines to serve with antipasti. The Antipasto Table highlights the foods that make Italian cuisine so wonderfully appealing.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Not to be confused with the ubiquitous Italian-American ``antipasto salad,'' genuine ``antipasti'' are delightful hot or cold hors de'oeuvres--the kind of delicacies perched on the ``antipasto table'' at restaurants and trattorie all over Italy. And although, according to Scicolone ( Fish Steaks and Fillets ) in Italian ``antipasto'' means ``before the meal,'' these ``are not mere appetizers.'' In some Italian restaurants, devouring antipasti is a course-after-course indulgence similar in concept to dining on Spanish tapassic . Recipes here, though admirably detailed with substitutions and well-organized methods, are particularly impressive for their simplicity and ease of preparation. Among them are sauteed peppers with balsamic vinegar, orange, parmesan and walnut salad, and mussels with caper mayonnaise--including a method for cleaning and preparing mussels and clams. Instructions for home-drying a bumper crop of ripened plum tomatoes are here, as well as recipes for such uniquely Italian specialties as crusty, chewy Tuscan bread, crispy semolina focaccia and crunchy Sardinian flat bread. An up-front ``antipasto pantry'' section and menus for combining antipasti make this volume doubly useful. Author tour; HomeStyle Book Club alternate. (June)
Library Journal
Scicolone, a cooking teacher and consultant, offers a large collection of simple but fresh and vibrant recipes, most of which can stand on their own as antipasti or be combined with other dishes as the centerpiece of a light meal. The Bread and Focaccia chapter is especially good; Fava Beans with Prosciutto and Parmesan, Wild Mushroom Corstini, and Smoked Salmon with Fennel are among the tempting dishes in other categories. A good companion to Christopher Styler's similar Primi Piatti ( LJ 3/15/89).

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780880016278
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/28/1998
Pages:
276
Product dimensions:
7.50(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.58(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

The Antipasto Table


By Michele Scicolone

William Morrow & Company

Copyright © 1991 Michele Scicolone
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0688101240

Chapter One

Sicilian Eggplant Salad

Caponata

Serves 8

No one in Italy knows more ways to cook eggplant than the Sicilians, but this just might be the best.

Frying the eggplant in a large quantity of hot oil sears it and prevents it from soaking up more oil than is necessary. Cooked this way, eggplant will actually absorb less oil than if sauteed.

The flavors of caponata need to mellow overnight in the refrigerator, so it can be a prepared 1 to 3 days in advance.

3 medium eggplants (about I pound each)
Salt
Vegetable oil for frying
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 28-ounce can Italian peeled tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chopped pitted green olives
2 3 1/2-ounce jar capers, drained and chopped
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1. Trim the eggplants and cut into 1-inch cubes. Layer the cubes in a large colander, sprinkling each layer with salt. Place the colander over a plate and let stand for 1 hour. Rinse off the salt under cool water and pat the eggplant dry.

2. In a deep heavy skillet, heat I inch of vegetable oil until the temperature reaches 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Add about one quarter of the eggplant and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove the eggplant with a slotted spoon and place on absorbent paper to drain. Repeat with the remaining eggplant.

3. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the olives and capers and cook until the sauce is thick, about 10 minutes more. Stir in the eggplant, sugar, and vinegar and cook for 10 minutes. Let cool and refrigerate overnight. Serve at room temperature. This can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Miniature Omelets with
Cabbage and Leek

Frittatine di CavoIo

Serves 6 to 8

If I had to name the best region in Italy for antipasto, it would be Piedmont. The Piemontese take their antipasti very seriously and instead of serving an assortment on a plate, they are likely to present you with a series of small dishes.

My husband and I had no idea of this, however, when we stopped at the Enoteca del Castello at Costigliole d'Asti for lunch several years ago. The seventeenth-century castle, complete with crenelated tower, houses a collection of locally produced wines, called an enoteca or wine library, and a restaurant featuring regional foods.

Our waiter, who could not have been more than fourteen years old, shyly informed us that the menu was set and we only needed to select our wine. Soon our first course appeared - a platter of tender and moist sliced salami and prosciutto, which we enjoyed with the extra-long, crisp grissini (breadsticks) for which Piedmont is famous.

When we had finished, we politely laid our forks and knives side by side on our plates to indicate that we were through. The waiter reappeared and, to our surprise, placed the utensils to the sides of the plates as he delivered a tangy, fresh robiola cheese in a green herb sauce.

After this, we again placed the utensils on the plate but again he put them aside to serve carne cruda, paper-thin slices of marinated raw veal with shaved white truffles. Roasted peppers in bagna caoda followed, then sliced tongue in a garlicky sauce, Gorgonzola-stuffed celery, veal in tuna sauce, and tiny frittatas made with cabbage and leeks. Each time, the fork and knife ritual was repeated.

In all, nine antipasti were served - and we had not expected more than one. Later, we learned that this is not at all unusual in Piedmont, where more elaborate meals have been known to start with as many as thirty antipasti.

Extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups finely shredded cabbage
I medium leek (white part only), thinly sliced
6 large eggs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. In a large heavy skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. Stir in the cabbage and leek. Cover the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is very tender, about 30 minutes. Let cool.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, Parmigiano, salt, and pepper. Stir in the cabbage mixture.

3. Lightly brush a griddle or large skillet with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Stir the egg mixture and scoop by 1/4 cupfuls onto the griddle, spacing the omelets about 4 inches apart. Flatten slightly with the back of a spoon. Cook until the edges are set and the omelets begin to brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. With a pancake turner, flip the omelets and cook on the other side for about I minute more. Transfer the omelets to a plate. Keep warm, if desired, in a low oven.

4. Cook the remainder of the omelet mixture in the same way, brushing the griddle with oil as needed. Serve hot, warm, or cold.

Sicilian Eggplant Salad

Caponata

Serves 8

No one in Italy knows more ways to cook eggplant than the Sicilians, but this just might be the best.

Frying the eggplant in a large quantity of hot oil sears it and prevents it from soaking up more oil than is necessary. Cooked this way, eggplant will actually absorb less oil than if sauteed.

The flavors of caponata need to mellow overnight in the refrigerator, so it can be a prepared 1 to 3 days in advance.

3 medium eggplants (about I pound each)
Salt
Vegetable oil for frying
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 28-ounce can Italian peeled tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chopped pitted green olives
2 3 1/2-ounce jar capers, drained and chopped
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1. Trim the eggplants and cut into 1-inch cubes. Layer the cubes in a large colander, sprinkling each layer with salt. Place the colander over a plate and let stand for 1 hour. Rinse off the salt under cool water and pat the eggplant dry.

2. In a deep heavy skillet, heat I inch of vegetable oil until the temperature reaches 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Add about one quarter of the eggplant and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove the eggplant with a slotted spoon and place on absorbent paper to drain. Repeat with the remaining eggplant.

3. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the olives and capers and cook until the sauce is thick, about 10 minutes more. Stir in the eggplant, sugar, and vinegar and cook for 10 minutes. Let cool and refrigerate overnight. Serve at room temperature. This can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Miniature Omelets with
Cabbage and Leek

Frittatine di CavoIo

Serves 6 to 8

If I had to name the best region in Italy for antipasto, it would be Piedmont. The Piemontese take their antipasti very seriously and instead of serving an assortment on a plate, they are likely to present you with a series of small dishes.

My husband and I had no idea of this, however, when we stopped at the Enoteca del Castello at Costigliole d'Asti for lunch several years ago. The seventeenth-century castle, complete with crenelated tower, houses a collection of locally produced wines, called an enoteca or wine library, and a restaurant featuring regional foods.

Our waiter, who could not have been more than fourteen years old, shyly informed us that the menu was set and we only needed to select our wine. Soon our first course appeared - a platter of tender and moist sliced salami and prosciutto, which we enjoyed with the extra-long, crisp grissini (breadsticks) for which Piedmont is famous.

When we had finished, we politely laid our forks and knives side by side on our plates to indicate that we were through. The waiter reappeared and, to our surprise, placed the utensils to the sides of the plates as he delivered a tangy, fresh robiola cheese in a green herb sauce.

After this, we again placed the utensils on the plate but again he put them aside to serve carne cruda, paper-thin slices of marinated raw veal with shaved white truffles. Roasted peppers in bagna caoda followed, then sliced tongue in a garlicky sauce, Gorgonzola-stuffed celery, veal in tuna sauce, and tiny frittatas made with cabbage and leeks. Each time, the fork and knife ritual was repeated.

In all, nine antipasti were served - and we had not expected more than one. Later, we learned that this is not at all unusual in Piedmont, where more elaborate meals have been known to start with as many as thirty antipasti.

Extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups finely shredded cabbage
I medium leek (white part only), thinly sliced
6 large eggs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. In a large heavy skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. Stir in the cabbage and leek. Cover the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is very tender, about 30 minutes. Let cool.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, Parmigiano, salt, and pepper. Stir in the cabbage mixture.

3. Lightly brush a griddle or large skillet with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Stir the egg mixture and scoop by 1/4 cupfuls onto the griddle, spacing the omelets about 4 inches apart. Flatten slightly with the back of a spoon. Cook until the edges are set and the omelets begin to brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. With a pancake turner, flip the omelets and cook on the other side for about I minute more. Transfer the omelets to a plate. Keep warm, if desired, in a low oven.

4. Cook the remainder of the omelet mixture in the same way, brushing the griddle with oil as needed. Serve hot, warm, or cold.

Continues...


Excerpted from The Antipasto Table by Michele Scicolone Copyright © 1991 by Michele Scicolone. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Michele Scicolone is a food and travel writer and cooking teacher whose articles appear in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wine Spectator, and many other publications. She is the author of Savoring Italy, Pizza Any Way You Slice It! (coauthored with her husband, Charles, an Italian wine expert), A Fresh Taste of Italy, La Dolce Vita, and The Antipasto Table. She lives in New York City and visits Italy several times each year.

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