Saturday, May 1, 2010

0 Recipe #106: Antipasto di Fagioli, Carciofi, Cuori di Palma, e Peperoncini (Marinated Vegetable Antipasto)

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This is a favorite antipasto that I've recreated from scratch, from many a fond childhood memory of eating this appetizer at one of our favorite Italian restaurants, the legendary Tag's Bar & Grill, which is sadly no more. (On a somewhat related note, you are welcome to read my personal tribute to this fantastic restaurant in a review I wrote for Yelp a while back.)

I remember we ate this antipasto with slices of Italian bread, & would spoon out some grated parmesan cheese from a small metal serving dish situated a tavola, & then would sprinkle it on top. Oh, it was so yummy! Actually come to think of it, just about everything on their menu was good. :)

Anyhow, thinking the dish might be a standard Italian antipasto, I searched the internet far & wide, looking for the exact name of this dish, but to no avail. I couldn't find it anywhere. From what I can tell, it appears to have been an original creation from the Tag's kitchen; I'm guessing it's probably a secret family recipe passed down from one generation to the next. So, in lieu of a known official name, I've given the dish an Italian name based on its main ingredients. :)

As I haven't yet been able to get my paws on the exact recipe for this wonderful concoction, I was determined to create a recipe that came as close to the original as humanly possible. At some point in the recipe creation process, I decided that this dish would taste even more delicious with the addition of fresh, cooked artichoke hearts (carciofi) & hearts of palm (cuori di palma), which are both superb, natural complements to olive oil, fresh herbs, & spices. So now those ingredients appear in the below recipe as well. Of course, if you'd prefer to make the original template, just make it without these two ingredients. ;)

Hope you will enjoy this antipasto as much as our family has! Alla tua salute!

Antipasto di Fagioli, Carciofi, Cuori di Palma, e Peperoncini (Marinated Garbanzo Beans, Artichokes, Hearts of Palm, & Peperoncini)

2/3 c. garbanzo beans (chickpeas), cooked
1/3 c. peperoncini (marinated, sweet banana peppers), sliced crosswise into 1/4" thick rounds (about 3 large whole peppers)
1/3 c. hearts of palm, sliced crosswise into 1/2" thick rounds
1 Tbsp. fresh garlic, peeled & finely minced (about 2 large cloves)
3/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. distilled white vinegar
1/4 c. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp. fresh Italian flat leaf parsley leaves
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves (about 14 large sprigs)
2 tsp. fresh rosemary leaves (about 1/2 medium-sized sprig)
1 tsp. fresh oregano leaves, finely minced (about 2 large sprigs)
1/4 c. fresh basil leaves, finely minced (about 8 gigantic leaves)
1 1/4 tsp. dried marjoram leaves
1/8 tsp. crushed red chili pepper flakes
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

fresh Italian bread, sliced
Parmesan cheese, grated (or shredded)

Directions: Mix all of the ingredients together & allow to marinate for at least an hour. Serve atop toasted Italian bread or grilled bruschetta, & sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

Alternate Preparations: If you'd like to add more "bite" to this dish, you can also add capers (capperi), &/or gourmet Italian/Mediterranean olives (olive).

To make this recipe vegan, simply substitute with a vegan imitation cheese (i.e., "soy cheese" & the like) that approximates the flavor of Parmesan. I'd advise against eliminating the cheese substitute altogether as the antipasto needs a cheese-like flavor to complement & balance out the the other elements in this dish.

Yield: About 3 c.

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