sharing (Italian) food to enjoy life

The oh so rare Italian Night

Posted by Jim Carfrae on November 16, 2009

Enjoying Appetizers

For whatever reason, Italian is almost always an accent in our house, not the central theme when we entertain.  Saturday my wife was making her béchamel sauce lasagna and I decided to extend to a full Italian night.  A stray copy of Canadian Living provided some great new bruschetta ideas and some old classics made the appetizers a huge hit. (Make no mistake the lasagna was great too, I just didn’t prepare it.) We complimented the meal with a Pinot Grigio, a Chianti, tartufo and an experimental espresso and vanilla cream to finish the night off.

Nov'09 016I love appetizers as they start the night off with energy.  Variety provides something to share and talk about.  Prosciutto wrapped around the breadstick was the biggest surprise to my friend, who has tried almost everything. 



The appetizers started with brushing a sliced baguette with olive oil and toasting for a few minutes as the base for bruschetta. Assembly was successfully downloaded to the kids:

  • Spread a little brie and top with cooked asparagus, (cook to al dente, plunge in ice water to stop the cooking and dry).  Make sure the brie is at room temperature – the rule for all cheeses and deli meats to enjoy the full flavour.
  • Sauté fine chopped mushrooms in olive oil, you can include some fine red onion as well. Pile on the toast and drizzle a sweet balsamic vinegar glaze over the top – and don’t be shy.
  • Lay out the thinly sliced prosciutto and wrap around 6-7 spears of the cooked asparagus.  Cut into pieces in a sushi-style.  This is a straight copy from a friend; she also puts some arugula inside.
  • Fold some Genoa salami into flowers and hold together with a toothpick.
  • Slice some Savello di Roma and Calabrese cheeses.  The Calabrese is a Crotenese that has been coated in chili peppers. These are imported from Italy and were purchased at Grande Cheese.
  • The last appetizer was courtesy of the humble breadstick. I’m not talking about the fat chalky things; I am talking about the imported Italian ones, thin and dense with lots of snap.  My kids eat a box a week, plain or wrapped with prosciutto. Lay the prosciutto out lengthwise and roll the prosciutto around the breadstick.  

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