While we stayed at Anna’s B&B in San Miniato, it was so wonderful to experience her home cooking and to eat like the locals ate. For our first meal with her, she placed a antipasti plate in front of each of us and I remember loving how simple it was. Sliced tomatoes, mozzarella, a couple of homemade meatballs and some pickled sardines. All local and seasonal. I wondered why I don’t eat like this back home, as an antipasti plate all to myself felt like a bit of a nice treat.
Inspired by Anna, while having some friends over on the weekend, I put together my own antipasti plate – be assured though, this one was not all to myself.
Organising something like this is pretty breezy, a quick tour of the deli hall at my local market did the trick.
half a cup cherry tomatoes
eight slices of prosciutto, sliced thinly
one large ball of mozzarella, or fior di latte
half a cup olives
four slices of grilled eggplant
five grilled and marinated artichokes
half a cup of pesto
half a loaf of ciabatta
one garlic clove
two tablespoons balsamic vinegar
fresh basil (to serve)
one chilli, chopped (to serve)
parmesan (to serve)
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place in a small bowl. Finely slice a small handful of basil leaves and add to the tomatoes. Splash over a tablespoon of the olive oil, the balsamic vinegar, add a pinch of salt and pepper, mix well and set aside.
Get a nice large board (we used a big French style round one). Take the thin slivers of prosciutto and gently layer them on top of each other in ribbons, in a small pile.
Cut your ciabatta into nice, easy to hold slices and toast them in batches. Once they’re out of the toaster, cut your garlic clove in half and rub over the toast.
Tear your mozzarella ball in half and place them opposite each other on the board. Tear in half again so you have two quarters sitting together on either side.
Cut your artichoke hearts in half and place them in between the prosciutto and mozzarella.
Gently spoon your tomatoes (without too much of the liquid) into the centre of the board, then do the same with the olives so they sit beside the tomatoes.
Get a tablespoon of your pesto and loosen it with some olive oil so it’s a bit more runny. Drizzle this over your split mozzarella.
Spoon the remainder of the pesto into a small bowl, and add to the centre of your platter.
Drizzle some olive oil over your antipasti (except over the bowl), add the toast to the board and garnish the whole lot with chopped basil, chilli and freshly shaved parmesan.