Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tuesday Night Supper: Antipasti Plates

When you have an assortment of items in the larder, a nice option for dinner (albeit a slightly time-consuming one) is to set a table full of antipasti. Traditional dishes include things like olives, cheeses and cold cuts. Raw or cooked vegetable salads are good additions also.

In an effort to use up more of the items we purchased on Sunday, these are the items I put together for dinner:
  • Grilled eggplant in agrodolce (sweet and sour sauce)
  • Melon wrapped with speck (similar to prosciutto, but it's smoked)
  • Asian pears wrapped with bresaola (an air dried beef - sort of like really elegant beef jerky) and mimolette (a Gouda-like hard French cheese)
  • Thinly sliced fennel in a lemon vinaigrette
  • Semolina bread
Now this all sounds pretty fancypants (and I swear I really do eat things like hot dogs and french fries), but it was easy to put together and pretty quick, relatively speaking. Total kitchen time was about 45 minutes, including grilling the eggplant.

Sorry, no recipes again, but these dishes are easy enough that you don't need them.

For the melon dish: wrap thinly sliced melon wedges with strips of speck or prosciutto. The melon must be ripe (that is really the toughest part of this dish - finding the melon). I used about 1/4 pound of speck for one small melon.

For the Asian pears: wrap wedges of Asian pears (or ripe "normal" pears) with bresaola (you may wish to cut the bresaola in half - it's generally sorta wide), tuck in a piece of mimolette (or cheddar or aged Gouda), serve on a piece of radicchio (or Belgian endive or Bibb lettuce). Drizzle with olive oil.

For the eggplant agrodolce: Slice your eggplant into 1/2" slices. Drizzle with oil and grill or broil until cooked through. In a small saucepan, saute a minced shallot. When soft, add 1/4 cup or so of good red wine vinegar (or sherry vinegar), a small handful of raisins and a tablespoon of capers. Simmer for a few minutes (this will be whiffy, simmering vinegar is certainly sinus-clearing). Pour the sauce over the eggplant, season with salt and pepper. This is better the next day when the sauce has had a moment to seep into the eggplant.

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