by Sybil PrattJune 2006
Small plates, Italian style
Even if you don't know how to say hello and goodbye in Italian, I'll bet you know that antipasto is Italian for the fabulous stuff that's served as a first course in Italy and in Italian restaurants of every size, shape and origin around the world. And, because it's such an appealing way to start a meal, lots of us serve our own version at home slices of salami, olives, a nice hunk of Italian cheese, all picked up at the store. If you want to elevate this shop-and-serve variety, or if you'd like to create fabulous hot and cold starters that tease the appetite or become a meal in themselves, just open up Joyce Goldstein's pleasingly designed Antipasti. These little wonders can be made with myriad ingredients: eggs become the basis for an asparagus frittata; parmesan cheese flavors crunchy crackers; a crisp polenta cake can be topped with greens or sautÅ½ed mushrooms, voluptuous gorgonzola custards with sliced pears; eggplants get stuffed or turned into caponata; shrimp combine with pea purÅ½e or tart grapefruit; chicken marinates in olive oil. Pick and choose from this marvelous medley or give in graciously and make them all.