We felt like a little starter, something to nibble on. Nibbles seem to be the new thing, judging by the snack section in our local supermarket. We seem to becoming a nation of rampant nibblers (dipped in hummus of course).
Italians are the kings of the nibble, tied with the Spanish, but they tend to make it more of main meal, a la tapas. Antipasto (translated as ‘before the meal’) is always the perfect accompaniment to nice glass of chilled something and good conversation as the sun is beginning to settle down.
This raw June (just passed) we have been mainly having large salads for dinner. We didn’t manage to arrange a dehydrator for the month, which would have meant many dried, crisp goodies. Instead we have normally opted for large bowls of salad, normally a green leaf based salad, a dip/ hummus/ raw cheese (something with a creamy texture), olives/nuts/pomegranate etc and one salad that is made of primarily harder fruit and veg (like this antipasto). All this served with a lovely dressing. The combination of these salads is tantalising! We cannot get enough of them and have decided to extend raw June in the future……………our rawness may never cease!?
This is a clean and citrus antipasto dish that boasts fresh, fresh flavours. The ideal pre-dinner plate to get the palate zinging. The combination of sweet pepper, tomato and pomegranate is a taste explosion that is difficult to match. If this little plate doesn’t liven up a dinner party, your friends may be comatosed!
The asparagus here was the last of the season from our local farm shop and very much relished. It is not essential to the dish, but a real treat non-the-less. The subtle flavour and crunch of raw asparagus will be missed until it re-emerges next year.
You can serve this with other antipasto favourites to make a platter, olives, artichoke hearts, chunks of cheese, marinated mushrooms etcetc.
Organic peppers and tomatoes will make all of the difference to this dish and your salads in general. The organic veg flavour is infinitely better.
Thanks to Mimi Kirk and the brilliant ‘Live Raw‘ book for inspiration here. If you live on a drab island like ours (where June resembles November) it is wonderful to leaf through the pages of this book and see the Holywood lifestyle and sunshine! How I miss the sun.
Antipasto 1 red pepper (sliced thinly), 1 yellow pepper (sliced thinly), 1 bunch of asparagus (cut into batons), 1 small pomegranate (seeds (or arils as they are called) only, no pith), 1 big handful of the sweetest plum tomatoes (we used red and yellow ones here)
Marinade – 4 tbs good olive oil, handful of fresh basil leaves, 1-2 cloves of garlic (crushed), a pinch of marjoram, oregano, thyme, basil, juice of 1 small lemon, 2 teas capers, pinch of sea salt and cracked pepper.
Whisk your marinade then combine all ingredients in a tupperware and mix together gently, don’t break up the asparagus and tomatoes. Make sure all is coated with the marinade. Leave in a fridge overnight or for at least a couple of hours to infuse.
On a nice big serving platter with whatever accompaniments you prefer. You may like to add a little torn basil leaf as a topping and of course, some nice toasted ciabatta drizzled with olive oil if it takes your fancy.
We Love It!
It is so full of crunchy flavour and pomegranate in a salad is a revelation. I’m not sure if my Italian friend would agree with such an addition, not proper antipasto they would say, but they only know what mama taught them!!!! (Sorry guys)
Most of us are aware that pomegranate is good for us. You can buy it in juice form all over Britain, it is most definitely a super fruit of note, packed full of the antioxidant punicalagin which scavenges free radicals from our bodies. Hooray! One of my favourite pomegranate products is the pomegranate concentrate, it adds an incredibly intense flavour to anything it touches.
The worlds finest pomegranates are grown in southern Afghanistan, although I heard that Iraq had some tasty arils also!