Thursday 19 June 2014

Antipasto Salad

Where I live, there's antipasto and antipasto:  The same word can mean two distinctly different things.

Antipasto can refer to a plate of small bites, served at room temperature.  It often includes a variety of meats, cheeses, vegetables, and pickles and is intended to be savoured as the prelude to a meal.  

Antipasto can also mean a relish of vegetables, pickles, olives, and tuna in a sweet, vinegary tomato sauce, often served with crackers.  It's a popular treat here.  

I make my own antipasto relish when I can afford to (a large batch can be quite expensive).  It's a wonderful thing to have on hand. 

If I have no homemade antipasto relish in the fridge, I buy this. It's not quite as good as homemade but it's still mighty tasty. 

I bought a jar of antipasto when I was shopping for our cold plate company lunch, put it in the fridge to chill...and then completely forgot about it.  So I guess this one sort of qualifies as a luncheon leftover, and sort of not. I'm going to count it as one anyway, and share what I made with it.

When dinner rolled around after our company lunch, neither of us was very hungry.  We wanted a little something-something but neither of us cared to eat anything very heavy. 

I opened the fridge seeking inspiration and there it was:  The forgotten jar of antipasto.  

How do you make a jar of relish into a meal?  

Well, you can, of course, simply spoon it onto some crackers and call it good enough 


you can bulk it up with other things and make it into a salad.  

I decided on a salad.  I foraged in the fridge and the pantry and this is what I came up with:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked pasta shells
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup sliced cucumber cut into 1/2 inch-ish pieces
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow bell pepper (All these vegetables were also leftover from our company lunch)
  • 1 tin of tuna
  • 1 jar of antipasto
  • romaine lettuce leaves. fresh basil, and fresh parsley for garnish

I began by cooking the pasta shells.  

While the pasta was cooking, I put the vegetables and tuna in a bowl.  

When the pasta was cooked but still a bit al dente, I drained it and rinsed it with cold water until it was completely cooled.  I shook the sieve gently until I was sure I'd shaken off as much excess water as possible.

I added the cooked pasta to the vegetables and tuna.  Because of their shape, the shells wanted to nest one inside the other.  I didn't want pasta clumps, so I used my fingers to gently separate the shells as I dropped them in the bowl.

Once the other ingredients were in the bowl, I stirred in enough antipasto to moisten it all.  I ended up using about 2/3 of the jar of antipasto.

I served our salad on romaine leaves and garnished each plate with a sprinkling of small basil and parsley leaves.  It was quite pretty and tasted good too!

This recipe made enough salad for the two of us to enjoy salad for supper, with enough leftover for a work lunch the following day.