Yesterday I had my friend Alex over for lunch, he is as much as an Italianophile as I am. Since he was supposed to come for lunch on Wednesday and cancelled, and I had made Bolognese, then Thursday and canceled (had made the Nicoise). I thought, you know what, I’m not going to cook for this sucker. I have enough products that I brought back from Italy that I can make a killer Antipasto. And that is what I did.
Sometimes, for me, the best meals are the ones you grab out of your fridge. No fuss no muss. I love having cold meats, cheese, olives, grilled veggies and a great wine (which I am fortunate, is really really cheap here). There is nothing that makes me feel more calm, happy, and indulgent than that. It’s a habit I have picked up here in Europe. I mean, how can you go wrong with the amazing selection of cheeses and meats and olives? It makes my heart pitter patter into ecstasy. I love taking a long time and enjoying every bite, savouring them, talking about what is happening in our country, or within our friends. It just feels RIGHT.
So, why don’t you look in your fridge and see what impromptu meal you can come up with? It can be anything and everything. Mine consisted of bread, a cold cuts plate that was from left to right, Speck (which is a cured ham from the Alto Adige region of Italy, and I served it with the sides that they usually do in that region, which is pickles, pickled onions, and horseradish) Culatello, which is the best and tastiest part of the Prosciutto di Parma, Lardo Salato, which is just the fat from the ham. Before you get on my case, don’t knock it until you try it. It is the MOST amazing delicacy, especially on warm crusty bread. It melts. It’s like butter. Nuff said. And then some Salame Cacciatorino.
Bottom plate was Appenzeller cheese, Parmesan chunks with raspberry balsamic, and then some grilled zucchini and yellow bell peppers, marinated in extra virgin olive oil and herbs and spices.
The little bowls on the side were, from top to bottom, pickles and pickled onions, horseradish, and my left over bolognese sauce that is UH-MA-ZING on toasted bread.
Sometimes the most simple and unexpected meals are the best meals. It is the pure essence of living here in Europe, something I had to get used to, but that sense of nothing too complicated, so we can just sit and enjoy life. As they say in Italian, “Dolce far Niente”. Which is basically, the sweetness of doing nothing.
Ain’t that the truth?
From my kitchen to yours,