I love to cook and try new foods and recipes. I try to do my best to incorporate healthy foods, but sometimes I need a little comfort food.
My Family's Go-To Antipasto Salad
When I was growing up, my family lived in the Bronx, which is one of the five boroughs of New York City. Our neighborhood was predominantly Italian, and thus we had lots of Italian delicatessens nearby.
About 50 years ago, my father brought home an antipasto salad from one of the local delis. It was a hit—we all loved it. Being an avid do-it-yourselfer, he decided to try to re-create the salad at home. After a few tries, he perfected a similar recipe, which he then proceeded to make over and over again for our guests.
We would serve it as an appetizer or with our evening meal. It also became a popular item to bring to picnics, as it stores well and is mayonnaise-free. The salad tastes even better on the second and third days, since the ingredients have a chance to soak in the dressing. The recipe will serve six to eight people depending on whether you serve it as a side dish or an appetizer.
The recipe contains just five primary ingredients, all of which are widely available, as well as some spices, herbs, and oil and vinegar.
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- Prep time: 30 minutes
- Chilling time: 3 hours
- Ready in: 3 hours 30 minutes
- Yield: Serves 6 to 8 people
- 6 ounces canned black olives, whole
- 8 ounces canned mushrooms, sliced
- 14 ounces artichoke hearts, quartered
- 8 ounces roasted red peppers, sliced
- 2 cups celery, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 red wine vinegar
- Finely chop 2 cups of celery. I like to devein the celery to make it tender. I snap the celery in half and pull each half away from the stringy veins. Add the chopped celery to large bowl.
- Dump the can of black olives into a fine strainer to drain. Shake off excess brine and add the olives the bowl.
- Drain the mushrooms in the strainer. If you purchased whole mushrooms, the mushrooms need to be sliced before adding them to the bowl. Mushrooms sold as bits and pieces work well for this recipe and are less expensive than whole mushrooms.
- Drain the artichoke hearts. The hearts should be at least cut into quarters and if some of the chunks seem a bit large, slice them again. Then add to the bowl.
- Drain the jar of roasted red peppers and slice into pieces about 1 inch by a 1/2 inch. Add to the bowl.
- Peel and finely chop 2 cloves of garlic and add to the mixture.
- Heat the lemon in the microwave for 20 seconds. This will give you more juice. Slice it in half and holding the lemon over the strainer and the strainer over the bowl, squeeze the juice out of each half. The strainer will catch the pits.
- Add the olive oil and vinegar. Stir the mixture so every piece is coated.
- Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Overnight chilling is even better as the pieces will marinate. Every few hours, gently mix the ingredients up from the bottom of the bowl to the top.
Sometimes, we would add chunks of mozzarella to the salad. This should be done right before serving. If you add the cheese too far ahead of time, the vinegar will make it mushy.
Another possible addition is slivers of pepperoni. Halve pepperoni slices, add them in, and toss.
© 2019 Ellen Gregory