First up was the antipasto (plural antipasti), which means "before the meal" and is the traditional first course of a formal Italian meal. Traditional antipasti include cured meats, olives, peperoncini, mushrooms, anchovies, artichoke hearts, various cheeses (such as provolone or mozzarella), pickled meats and vegetables (either in oil or in vinegar).
Our foray into the world of the Italian equivalent to tapas and meze, wisely chosen, was the easily prepared, yet tasty bruschette al pomadoro, aka tomato bruschetta. We came away feeling that at least in this case, if man had to live on bread alone, this would be the way to go.
The “gang of six” - Don, Denise, Lucy, Nancy, Bill & Valerie
Bruschette al Pomadoro (Tomato Bruschette)
8 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and diced 2 cloves garlic, finely minced 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus extra for garnish 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar ½ cup basil, coarsely chopped Salt and pepper to taste Tuscan bread or baguette, sliced
Combine all ingredients in a bowl (reserving some of the basil for garnish) and let sit for about 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.
Toast the sliced bread then spoon mixture on top of each slice, drizzle with a little additional olive oil and garnish with a little of the chopped basil.
Yield: 5 to 10 servings depending upon bread used).