How To: Antipasti
A guide to the perfect sharing platter from Kay Plunkett-Hogge...
“Ah, the antipasti platter – grazie mille, Italia! This is probably the perfect way to eat while you’re drinking and ideal for a party. A little bit of ham, a little bit of cheese, olives, artichoke hearts – it’s perfect, it’s simple, it’s low maintenance when it seems high maintenance. In short, it’s effortless, like classic Italian style. (Let’s face it, a perfectly sliced sliver of prosciutto di Parma is just as elegant as a perfectly cut Pucci dress…)
There aren’t any real rules to assembling a good platter of antipasti – just add lots of what you like. I suggest you hop on your Vespa (or the number 22 bus) and head to an Italian deli to pick up a few things. I like to include 4–6 of the following:
There are so many types, from all across Italy.
Among my favourites are:
Dry cured ham that is made using the hind legs of heritage-breed pigs, which are salted and then hung. The most famous are prosciutto di Parma and prosciutto di San Daniele. They are both excellent, though the San Daniele has a sweeter flavour because less salt is used in the curing process.
Simple boiled ham, sometimes flavoured with herbs and spices.
Smoked sausage from Bologna – this is where the American term “baloney” comes from. It is very smoothly minced pork and beef, dotted with pieces of pork fat. To be a real mortadella, the sausage must contain 15 per cent pork fat.”