Antipasto in Italian literally means, "before the meal." Traditionally, an antipasto platter contains a variety of cured meats, cheeses, herbs, and fresh or marinated vegetables. The true beauty of this appetizer lies in its simplicity -- it is extremely easy to put together, but the flavour is out of this world!
Any of the ingredients can be substituted based on preferences and/or what is readily available. Use the freshest ingredients possible for the best taste and most colourful presentation.
To serve, arrange clean lettuce leaves on a platter and pour the prepared antipasto over top. Serve along with plenty of crusty, fresh Italian bread chunks as well as toothpicks for guests to spear their favourite bites with.
For something a little different, try adding canned tuna or salmon, chunks of cooked fresh white fish, seafood such as calamari, squid, or shrimp, or even bite-sized pieces of roast beef or chicken. Vegetables like roasted eggplant, marinated mushrooms, or fresh peppers or zucchini can also be added to the mix. A touch of lemon juice or a splash of balsamic vinaigrette will liven things up even more. Feel free to play around with the recipe for a unique combination of flavours.
Change things up even more by combining the prepared antipasto recipe with cooked, cooled pasta such as rigatoni or rotini -- anything large enough to not be overpowered by the full flavour of the meat and marinade -- for a fresh take on pasta salad.