I'll begin my Martorana Cooking Weekend posts the way most Italian holiday meals begin - with Antipasto. Literally meaning "before the meal", its a way to curb your guests' appetites while the aroma of Roast Turkey or Sunday Sauce fills the air.
Antipasto was always a part of our holiday meals no matter at whose house we gathered and we still follow that tradition today - every time, no question about it.
Traditionally, antipasto is a mixture of pickled vegetables, meats and cheeses. In my family, we always include the exact same things, and always served on a dish especially made for antipasto, with separate compartments (so that your pepperoni doesn't taste like anchovies) and with small dishes and teeny, tiny forks.
My mother and I were in Italy just before my brother got married. We were in a ceramic store on the Amalfi Coast looking for something to buy as a shower gift. As soon as we spied an antipasto dish we knew it was the perfect choice. No better way to teach the newest family member what was expected before Easter Dinner !
It was only natural to enjoy some antipasto during our weekend at the Cape. We included the usual store bought items: anchovies, artichoke hearts, olives, pepperoni, sharp provolone and made two from scratch which you will find directly after this post: Marinated Mushrooms and Roasted Peppers.
So good - every time !