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Articles - Gourmet Pleasures:

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Antipasti: almost anything goes!

Antipasti are small titbits designed to tempt your appetite. Fans of Italian cuisine use can create antipasti from almost any vegetable – simply preserved in oil with herbs and spices. Or fried in oil and served cold. Vegetables that spring to mind are peppers, tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines, fennel, beans and olives.

Bruschetta and caprese are the classics

One of the classic antipasti is "bruschetta": slices of white bread are dribbled with olive oil and toasted in the oven, then rubbed with garlic. Chop ripe tomatoes, add torn up basil leaves, mix in olive oil, salt and pepper and pile onto the toasted bread slices. "Caprese" is the well-known tomato and mozzarella salad with basil and olive oil. It’s quick to make and tastes best in summer when tomatoes are ripest and most aromatic.

 

"Carpaccio" is another popular mix: raw beef fillet is sliced paper thin , dribbled with vinaigrette and sprinkled with thin curls of parmesan and raw mushrooms. Then there’s "vitello tonnato": buy higher welfare rosy veal for this simmer in white wine and vegetables, slice thinly and serve in a tuna sauce with capers and anchovies. A vegetarian option is marinated mushrooms made by heating chopped garlic in olive oil, adding whole mushrooms and a lot of rosemary and seasoning with balsamic vinegar and salt.

Bread with pesto is always good

You can fill courgette flowers with ricotta, dip them in batter and bake them in the oven or deep fry them for a couple of seconds. And your colourful antipasti platter could also include toasted bread with fresh pesto or parma ham on cubes of honeydew melon.

 

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de