ANTIPASTO SALAD by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan
September 12, 2019
Something crunchy, something colorful and something savory to bring to a last-of-the-season cookout, or a first-of-the-season tailgate party.
There is barely any cooking to do: the cherry tomatoes are slightly roasted, the broccoli crowns are tossed with extra-virgin olive oil and grilled along with some crusty French or Italian bread.
The rest of the work required improves your knife-skills.1
- Prep: 45 mins
- Cook: 45 mins
- Yields: 8-10 small portions
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup canola or other mild-flavored oil
½ teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
¼ cup fresh orange juice (from above orange)
½ teaspoon dried oregano or 1 ½ teaspoons fresh oregano
3 tablespoons best quality red wine vinegar (plus more to taste)
Kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 pints cherry tomatoes
2 each broccoli crowns (about 1 ½ pounds total weight)
2 pinches crushed red chili flakes
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
½ loaf French baguette or crusty Italian loaf of similar size
Kosher salt, to taste
¼ cup finely sliced red or sweet white Vidalia onions
4 ounces sopressata or other dry Italian salami
4 ounces provolone cheese, cut into ¼ -inch thick slices
2-each bell peppers (your color choice)
2 stalks celery
3-4 ounces large pitted green olives, your favorite variety
3 ounces baby arugula, washed & dried
Optional (but nice…) ½ cup tender, inner celery leaves
make the dressing
Combine the two oils in a measuring cup with a spout for pouring. Set aside.
And the vinegar, orange juice, orange rind, Dijon mustard and the oregano to a blender and ‘pulse’ to emulsify. With the motor running, remove blender top and slowly add the combined oils. Stop the motor to taste the dressing. Adjust acidity by adding more vinegar if necessary. Or add more orange juice for sweetness. Remember to season with pinch of kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper.
the salad preparation
Wash the cherry tomatoes and cut in half through the stem end. Gently toss with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Season with a pinch each of kosher salt and a pinch of crushed red chili flakes. Line a sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper and distribute the seasoned tomatoes on the sheet pan. Roast in a moderate (325 degree) oven until tomatoes just begin to ‘collapse, about 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven and let cool without ‘fiddling’ with the tomatoes. Scooping or stirring the cooked tomatoes at this point will result in ‘tomato puree’. Let cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Divide the broccoli crowns into ‘flowerettes’; pieces that are about 2 inches in size. Toss together in a bowl with1-2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Season with a pinch of dried red chili flakes and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt. Toss to combine well. Line the grill with the broccoli pieces and grill until slightly charred. Keep the broccoli moving so that it ‘grills’ and does not completely burn. The broccoli should soften considerably, become charred and smell delicious!
Remove the broccoli back to the bowl and let cool.
When it is cool to the touch, coarsely chop the broccoli into smaller pieces
Cut the French baguette or crusty Italian loaf in half. Grill the bread, cut side face-down on the grill. When toasted, remove from the heat and lightly brush with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with a touch of kosher salt. (Note: oil the bread AFTER grilling, or it will burn on the grill.)
Slice the red or sweet white onion into 1/8-inch slices. Set aside.
Slice the sopressata salami into ¼-inch thick round slices and then slice those rounds into ¼-inch slivers. Set aside.
Cut the provolone cheese slices into quarters and then cut the quarter pieces into ¼-inch slivers.
Wash & dry the bell peppers. Cut the tops off the peppers. Cut the pepper into 4-quarter pieces. Remove the seeds and inner ribs. Cut the quarters in half through the middle to make ‘shorter’ pieces and then cut these pieces into ¼-inch slivers. Set aside.
Cut the green olives in half and then into slivers. Set aside.
Wash & dry the celery stalks. Cut them on the diagonal, about 1/8th-inch wide. Set aside.
pull it all together
Choose a serving platter. Line the bottom of the platter with the cleaned baby arugula.
In a large bowl, combine the chopped grilled broccoli pieces, the red/white onion slices, the sliced sopressata salami and the provolone cheese. Add the bell peppers, the celery pieces, the celery leaves (optional) and the slivered green olives. Shake/blend/whisk the dressing to re-emulsify the ingredients.
Drizzle the ingredients with 3-4 tablespoons of the dressing. (Don’t add all the dressing, serve the extra on-the side.) Stir gently to combine. Taste for seasoning. Gently spoon on top of the arugula. Use a spatula or large spoon and gently scoop up and scatter the roasted tomatoes over the top. Be sure to also use any juices that have accumulated on the parchment paper.
Cut the bread into crouton-size pieces and add to the salad or cut into larger pieces and serve alongside separately.
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees and light the grill, set to medium heat. (Scrape the grill clean and lightly oil the surface with a piece of folded towel dipped in neutral-flavored oil.)