An antipasto tray is an easy-to-assemble starter for a midweek meal. Keep as many of the components as possible stored in the pantry so that all you have to do for the party is supplement with cheeses and meats. Serve with bread sticks and coarse country bread.
For the warm marinated olives:
- 1 cup mixed oil-cured green and black olives
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 tsp. coarse salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 lb. marinated artichokes, drained
- 1/4 lb. large caperberries
- 6 oz. roasted red bell peppers, cut into narrow strips
- 3 oz. anchovy fillets
- 6 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, broken into bite-size pieces
- 3/4 lb. thinly sliced mixed Italian cured meats, such as prosciutto, coppa and bresaola
To prepare the olives, preheat an oven to 350°F.
In a small baking dish, combine the olives, olive oil, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, salt and black pepper. Bake the olives until heated through, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a warmed small serving dish and keep warm.
Put the warm marinated olives, the artichokes, caperberries, roasted bell peppers, anchovies and cheese pieces into separate small bowls or plates. Separate the slices of cured meats and layer them attractively on a plate.
Arrange the bowls and plates on a large serving tray along with some serving utensils. Serve immediately. Serves 6.