Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My Antipasto Platter

Al fresco dining is my favorite way to eat, hands down. I love restaurants with patios overlooking parks or busy streets or the ocean. I love sitting on my porch in the summertime and watching the kids ride by on bicycles or watching the bees pollinate my neighbor's flowers. We also set up dinner in the backyard so that my daughter can run around and get in and out of her pool if she wants, in between bites. The last thing you want to do in the summer is turn on your stove and slave away for hours. The weather is so nice I just want to pour a glass of wine, watch the sun set and eat a beautiful meal, I don't have to cook. In our house this means a huge platter of delicious things I find in my wanderings of farmer's markets and local stores. In Italy this is called the antipasto platter and is eaten before your actual meal. In our house its called summer, no cook dinner. We eat this way a lot and I just love perusing the co-op where I shop picking out things that will compliment each other. Sometimes the platter is centered around a fabulous cheese that I tried and just couldn't say no to, or its a locally made bread and all the things I want to eat on top of it. Whatever the inspiration, there are a few basic rules I always follow that will make a simple, yet chic, al fresco meal.

Step one: get yourself a large beautiful platter. You don't want to buy a gorgeous cheese and then plop it on a plastic plate. I love making the platter look beautiful, you eat with your eyes first. I also love that its all on one big plate that everyone can share from, it makes for a very intimate dinner and forces conversation; which I feel is what dinner is all about. You don't have to go crazy, I have a very simple white platter I use every time and it was 4$ at the Christmas Tree Shoppe.

Step two: I always pick five or six things; one or two fabulous cheeses, one decadent meat that doesn't have to be cooked, one sweet item (usually fruit), one vegetable, one marinated item, such as olives and some type of bread. You shouldn't go overboard with your selections because you want to be able to buy the very best of each item so I always say quality over quantity when making this kind of dish. Feel free to do less  items, I just wouldn't do more because then your platter ends up being overcrowded and confusing. If you are serving more than two or three people then make two platters with the six items, that are both identical and set them at both ends of the table so that two to three people are still sharing from one platter.

Step three: Assembly! My rule of thumb is to put everything together so that it looks beautiful and not a mishmash of stuff. I like to serve my marinated item in a small bowl so that the oil or marinade doesn't get all over. I like to cut everything up so that its ready to just pop into your mouth. The only thing I leave whole is the cheese because you should never cut up your cheese ahead, it loses moisture and flavor when cut, hence why pre-grated parmesan has little flavor compared to freshly grated. Plus cheese just looks so beautiful when its whole, I have a soft spot for it.

Now you are ready to make your own, with your favorite things and local specialties, or make this particular one by following my recipe below:

This platter will serve 2 or 3.

Ingredients for this particular platter

6oz Bloomsdale soft goat cheese with mold rind from Baetje Farms in MO, left whole. This cheese has won a number of awards and is produced in small batches. I usually buy local but after one bite of this at a local cheesemonger I couldn't say no, and this platter was born.
4 oz Fermin chorizo iberico, sliced, you can buy it on Amazon by clicking the link.
2 Organic pink lady apples, sliced and lemon squeezed over them to keep them from browning.
3 Slices herb roasted turkey breast, from the deli, rolled and sliced in half to make six pieces.
1 Small, sandwich size ciabatta roll.
1 Cup white bean salad, get my recipe here, by clicking the link. I made this salad for another meal and had leftovers so it became both my vegetable and marinated component in one.


Unwrap the cheese and allow to come to room temperature. Most cheese needs to be at room temp for the full flavor to come through. I leave it on the paper so it doesn't get all over all the other components on the platter. Just fold the paper back so that it still looks nice.

Arrange the meats and apples on the platter keeping them together.

In the middle place a small bowl and fill with your white bean salad.

Cut the ciabatta roll in half and drizzle with olive oil. Broil for a few minutes till it is browned. Cut a garlic clove in half and rub the hot bread with the cut end of the garlic clove, it will melt onto the bread. Sprinkle the bread with sea salt and cut into chunks, about 2 or 3 chunks per person. Place on the platter.

Lastly place on your room temp cheese and a cheese knife or spreader if needed.

Pour yourself some wine and enjoy, preferably outside with your loved ones.

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.
            ― Oscar Wilde


  1. We love anitpasta platters. Yours looks great.


    1. Thank you, I love going to the farmer's market or my local co-op and picking out lots of yummy stuff, I think its such a romantic way to spend an evening, lots of great no cook, no fuss foods that are delicious and a large glass of chilled wine...right in your driveway (which is how we roll) or on a beautiful beach, wow I would love that hahaha! Sorry daydreaming while posting haha!