The word “Antipasto” means “before the meal” and traditionally, is the first course of a formal Italian meal. If you compare antipasto to hors d’oeuvres, there are actually several distinctions between them. Hors d’oeuvres are served while guests are still standing and tend to be served off trays in the most formal settings or placed on a table. Hors d’oeuvres are also enjoyed with drinks prior to the meal. On the other hand, antipasto is served at the table and signifies the beginning of the Italian meal. Antipasto can consist of many different things, the most traditional being cured meats, marinated vegetables, olives, and various cheeses.
I love having friends over for wine tastings. It’s a great way to try new and different wines, and, for me, it’s a great way to try new and different appetizers. This recipe is one I just recently discovered in a Better Homes and Garden Special “Ultimate Italian” magazine I picked up in the grocery store. If you see it, buy it…there’s not a bad looking recipe in the whole magazine! This recipe for antipasto spoke to me, though. It’s easy, full of flavor and can be prepared the day before you plan to eat it (a definite plus in my book!) I used frozen artichokes, but if your grocery store doesn’t carry them, canned will work just fine.
Marinated Mushrooms and Artichokes
slightly adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine
Prep: 25 minutes Marinate: 8 hours Stand: 30 minutes
- 8 ounces fresh mushrooms (cremini or button are good–if small, leave whole…otherwise halve)
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon snipped fresh oregano
- 2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 (8-9 ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained if necessary
- 1 1/2 cups pitted green and/or ripe olives (I used Kalamata)
- 1/2 cup roasted red pepper strips (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
In a large saucepan, combine mushrooms, water, juice garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Drain; cool slightly.
Meanwhile, for marinade: In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, oregano, mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add mushrooms, artichoke hearts, olives, and if desired, crushed red pepper and roasted red pepper; toss gently to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator 8 to 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired. Use wooden toothpicks or skewers to serve.