For any type of get-together on my mom’s side, no matter how big or small, we always have antipasti. Antipasti is basically the Italian appetizer course, and what you’re served depends on the Region in Italy and the season. For example if you’re in a region close to the ocean, you would most likely have several seafood dishes, where as if you lived in the mountains, you’d probably have more meat and cheese. We’ve Americanized our antipasti a bit and we somtimes adopt the things you might see during a French cheese course. But really, the lovely thing about antipasti is that you can customize it to your and your family’s liking.
Our antipasti always has five things, vegetables (either fresh, pickled, or pre-cooked and soaked over night), bread, at least one meat (salami, prosciutto, sopressata), cheese, and olives. For our antipasti on Easter, we added Fig Jam, Sunflower Honey, and candied pecans to go with four types of cheeses and I also made Fava Bean Crostini (which were incredible). In my house, we eat the antipasti an hour or two before the main meal, and it is always my favorite part, mostly because I could live on olives and cheese.
Some other things we might include in an antipasti; sun-dried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, seafood salad, baccala (cod salad), steamed shrimp, my mom’s clams, marinated mushrooms, pepperoncini stuffed with cheese or meat, grilled eggplant salad with parsley, pickled or roasted beets, and cooked red peppers. Regardless of what is included, antipasti is my favorite family tradition and I know it’ll always be a part of my family’s celebrations.
Do you have any food traditions in your family? Does anyone else do antipasti, what do are your must-haves?