There is no right or wrong way to rustle up a plate of mixed antipasti! You can throw in anything you like and have a mix of sliced meats (affettati) and cheeses (formaggi) or for vegetarians - just cheese and vegetables (verdure). The important thing is presentation - la presentazione. Here I have used my favourite serving dish which is designed with separate compartments so that you can nicely present the various affettati.
Ho messo nel piatto:
On this platter I have included:
i peperoni - strips of peppers
Sardinian peretta cheese
i pomodori secchi - sun dried tomatoes
le melanzane grigliate - grilled and marinaded aubergines
il prosciutto di Parma - Parma ham
Sardinian pecorino cheese - also known as fiore sardo
il salame di cinghiale - wild boar salami
le olive - olives
le cipolline sott'aceto - silverskin pickled onions
Importante! It is important that the antipasti you choose are small or bite-size.
Roll up any ham/salami so that it can be picked up easily. These rolled-up pieces are called rotolini. If you are feeling artistic, you can roll them into flower shapes too!
Other items could be included such as il salmone affumicato - smoked salmon, il prosciutto cotto - cooked ham, i carciofini sott'olio - artichokes in oil, etc.
A Casa Mia....
Below are some of gli antipasti from back home in Alghero, Sardinia that mia nonna and mia zia always have ready on the table......
1. Il Pane Carasau
Baked exclusively in Sardinia, this bread is wafer thin, almost like paper.
Its name comes from the Sardinian word carasare which means 'to toast'.
It is an ancient bread originally made for the Sardinian shepherds who would be away from home with their flock for months at a time.
You certainly would not use il pane carasau to make a sandwich because it is far too thin and crunchy! However, it is an excellent accompaniment to il formaggio e la salsiccia - cheese and salami-type sausage and also le verdure sott'olio - vegetables preserved in oil.
You can buy it plain or in a version called il pane guttiau which is lightly-seasoned with olive oil and salt. It's very tasty even on its own.
2. Salsiccia Secca di Cinghiale
(wild boar salami)
This is produced in the same way as regular, dry-cured pork sausage but instead it uses la carne di cinghiale (wild boar meat).
You can find it with different types of seasonings: a popular one is with fennel seeds.
3. La Peretta Sarda
(a traditional Sardinian cheese)
Questo è il mio formaggio preferito!
This is my favourite cheese!
La peretta is made only in Sardinia and you can buy the regular or smoked version.
It gets its name (meaning 'little pear') because it is shaped like a pear.
La peretta has a thin rind that you peel away with a knife before eating the cheese. It has a mild, nutty flavour and can be found in Sardinian speciality deli shops online. It arrives vacuum-packed which ruins the shape a little but the taste is just as good!