This is the way our Publisher’s grandparents, both chefs, and restaurateurs, used to prepare Antipasto, allowing guests at their table to create their own individual salads. This course usually took an hour to eat, at dinners that lasted the entire day. Abbondanza!

Every holiday or family celebration, particularly Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, the Antipasto platter became the standard starter course before a meal of seafood (Christmas Eve), a roast (Christmas Day). On Christmas Day, they would add to the meal such things as soup, pasta, fruit, nuts, and dessert. It was also a favorite for New Year’s Eve, accompanied by Prosecco or dry white wine.

Christmas Eve was always the most special, and the Antipasto was often the focus of the meal, which inevitably ended with Struffoli.


Prep time
Total time
There's no set recipe, so pick and choose the ingredients you like and use as much as you desire.
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 10 to 12
  • 3 large heads iceberg lettuce, trimmed and quartered
  • 1/2 pound finest Genoa salami, sliced and rolled
  • 1/2 pound prosciutto (preferably imported), sliced to 1/16th of an inch
  • 1 sopressata, sweet, sliced into diagonally cut thin slices
  • 1 pepperoni, mild, sliced into diagonally cut thin slices
  • 1/2 pound Bresaola ham, sliced
  • 1/2 pound mortadella, sliced
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into strips
  • 1 pound capocollo ham, sliced
  • 1/2 pound prosciutto cotto, sliced
  • 1 pound provolone cheese, cut into large cubes or wedges
  • 1 pound Italian giardineria (preserved vegetables like cauliflower and carrots in vinegar), drained
  • 1/2 pound freshly roasted peppers, skin removed, cool
  • 1 can anchovies, drained
  • 1 bulb of fennel, fresh, cut in 4 wedges
  • 1 head of celery, trimmed, individual stalks separated
  • 1 large can (at least 14 ounces) artichokes, drained
  • 1 pound of assorted Italian olives, from the olive bar, not canned
  • 1/4 pound green olives stuffed with pimento
  • 1 Cup olive oil (not extra virgin)
  • 1/3 Cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • a dash of salt.
  1. On a large platter, lay a bed of the outer leaves of the iceberg lettuce.
  2. Roll the prosciutto, salami, mortadella, capocolla, Bresaola, and pancetta into thin individual rolls, one slice of each per roll. Set aside.
  3. Cut the cheeses, sopressata and pepperoni as indicated and set aside.
  4. Cut the fennel as indicated, laying them in decoratively on the platter, in the center, their root end towards the center of the platter.
  5. Mound the giardineria in the center of the platter.
  6. Cut the iceberg lettuce into quarters and place a quarter on the corners of the platter. Upon each wedge of lettuce, lay a piece of roasted pepper, and upon those, lay two anchovies, criss-crossed.
  7. Place the rolled cold cuts on the platter, along with the sliced sopressata, pepperoni and cheese pieces.
  8. Place the artichokes, well drained, around the platter, along with the variety of olives, also drained.
  9. Place celery stalks wherever you can find room. The platter should be quite full by this point.
  10. In a bowl, add the vinegar, ground pepper, oregano, garlic and basil. Add the salt last. Whisk until well blended. Add the oil and whisk very well until completely blended.
  11. Serve the dressing in a sauce boat on the side, keeping a spoon or ladle in it to allow the dressing to be remixed as it will separate.
Don't worry if there is not enough lettuce for the number of people this serves. Most will be focused on the cold cuts, olives and other items.

Serve this as a first course before a big family meal.[br][br]It should be followed by a pasta course, then the meat course.

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