The Holiday and entertaining season is here, so I wanted to share with you this appetizer/first course. It is perfect for those open house parties, elegant for a buffet and--well, we have been known to eat this for a meal with some crusty bread to sop up the sauce. Meats, cheese, veggies...what's not too love? The fennel and carrots are cooked just until tender and jarred roasted red bell peppers are used for ease. The bocconcini (small buffalo mozzarella) is creamy, the artichokes briny and the herbs just bring it all together.
It is better if made in advance, so make it then go and get some holiday shopping done.
I serve it with toothpicks for an appetizer and with small shallow bowls on the side for those who want to enjoy it as a first course.
Note: I enjoy Columbus Soppressata and I use really good balsamic vinegar--it is like a sweet syrup. It makes a difference, so buy yourself an early gift and enjoy it all year long. Otherwise, I would suggest reducing a non-aged balsamic vinegar by half or until it becomes thick and syrupy.
This is perfect party food.
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 large clove garlic, finely minced or grated on a micro-plane
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
3 large carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1/4-inch thick slices
2 fennel bulbs, tops trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 jarred roasted red bell peppers, drained and cut in to 1/2-inch strips
1-lb bocconcini (small mozzarella balls), drained
10 oz sopressata, sliced in to 1/4-in thick slices and halved
2 15-oz canned whole small artichokes, drained
crushed red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the marinade
In a small bowl whisk together the vinegars, garlic, basil, oregano, and rosemary and salt. Whisking slowly add the oil and whisk until emulsified. Set aside.
Fill a large saucepan full of water to a boil. Blanch the carrots and fennel until they are tender but still crisp, about 4-5 minutes. Drain and plunge in to a bowl of ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Once cool, drain well
In a large bowl add the carrots, fennel, peppers, bocconcini, salami, artichokes, and the marinade. Mix until combined and coated. Season with crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Chill in a covered container for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Bring to room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from Epicurious