History of Antipasti

Jul 1, 2018   //   by mamaginas   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Antipasti literally means “before the meal.” It the Italian version of appetizers and is generally comprised of colorful bites of cured meats, cheese and marinated vegetables. These are usually served at room temperature to entice people with the meal to come.

The first reference to antipasti was in medieval Italy. It became a delightful way to allow guests to snack and talk, slowing down what was often the hurried pace of a shared meal.

Here are some of the most common elements and variants in an antipasti platter.
Cheeses – gorgonzola, pecorino romano, mozzarella
Vegetables – balsamic onions, olives, sweet garlic, raisins, capers, aubergine (like eggplant), artichokes, herbs, marinated vegetables, fresh cucumbers
Meats – mortadella, prosciutto de Parma, fresh seafood, salami, pepperoni

Various types of breads have been added to the antipasti board in more recent years and may come in the form of bruchetta, crostini or even small slices of a crusty fresh bread. The purpose is to pile it with ingredients and use it to convey some of those tasty bites into your mouth.

The French have their own version of an antipasti. A chacuterie plate is comprised of any smoked, dry-cured or cooked meat. This category includes favorites like bacon, ham, pâté and sausages. More esoteric items like terrines, rillettes, galantines and duck confit are also considered charcuterie.

Other cultures have picked up on these traditions and created their own antipasti platters filled with local, fresh and popular produce, meats and cheeses.

In short, there are no hard and fast rules to assembling an antipasti platter, so if you have a local cheese, cured meat or vegetables you love, feel free to pile them on the plate. Heck, why not add some fresh fruits, nuts and honey. Or fresh vegetables with a tangy dip.

At Mama Gina’s, we’ve turned all those traditional mouthwatering Italian bites into an amazing salad. Mama’s Antipasto Salad has ham, salami, pepperoni, mozzarella, artichoke hearts, carrots, olives, red onion, cucumber, fresh green pepper on a bed of lettuce, served with house-made balsamic vinaigrette.

  • Fun Facts:
    Did you know that eggplant is a member of the nightshade family, which incidentally also includes tomatoes, potatoes and peppers? Its origin is considered to be India where it continues to grow wild.
  • Smoked and cured meats date back to our earliest ancestors. The purpose of smoking and curing meats is to preserve these protein-rich foods, which would otherwise spoil quickly, for long periods.
  • In the US, we consume 251 million pounds of pepperoni annually — 350 slices are sold per second!
  • Pecorino is a term used to define Italian cheeses made from 100% sheep’s milk. … Pecorino Romano is one of most widely used, sharper alternatives to Parmesan cheese.
  • Bruchetta is toasted Italian bread drenched in olive oil and served typically with garlic or tomatoes.

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