Growing up in an Italian family whose patriarch was a chef, I was given the opportunity to taste everything from snails to tongue meat at an early age. I know, they are called escargot but please, back then at age 4, they were just snails.
All of our Italian family celebratory meals started with an Antipasti course. Rolled up Italian sliced deli meats, cheeses, breadsticks, and Cru D’etat vegetables, fresh or marinated. One of my father’s contributions to the family spread was his canned antipasto, his very own special recipe. What a treat that was! Canning is not one of my favorite jobs in the kitchen, I do appreciate the results, his of course were always excellent. His recipe is utter Italian deliciousiousness, still remembered to this very day by my dear childhood friend Kathi. We were reunited by Facebook 50 years past and while reminiscing about our father’s cooking exploits she asked for my father’s antipasto recipe. Yes, it is very good, but as we both noted, the process was a bit too arduous for today’s lifestyle.
While I still have his original hand-written recipe from his “little brown book” scrawled in his blocked-letter second language, I have since developed a simpler version that takes a tenth of the time, uses a contemporary blend of ingredients, and requires no fat. There are quite a few “refrigerator pickle” recipes out there, but as with any recipe ingredients and preparation equals results and not all are equal.
I am a proponent of a “base recipe” approach, which then can be “tweaked” to fit a person’s personal food preferences. This recipe can be made with zucchini in place of the cucumbers, add mushrooms or whatever of your favorites. I just made one with apples, we shall see how that goes! Try something new be brave, cooking is more fun that way, like an endless science experiment! Please share your ‘tweaks’ with us, there is always more to be learned.
Not My Daddy’s Antipasto Recipe
½ cup filtered or spring water
½ cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Lakanto Monkfruit sweetener
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
1 teaspoon whole allspice
pinch of salt
2 small pickle cucumbers, sliced
1 medium carrot, sliced
¼ large red onion, peeled and sliced
3 large cloves of fresh garlic, peeled and sliced
1” of fresh ginger finger, peeled and sliced
3 to 4 – 3” sprigs of fresh dill weed
1) Pour the first 7 ingredients into a one-pint glass canning jar.
2) Place in microwave without the lid. Microwave on high power of an 1100-watt microwave for 2 minutes.
3) Remove from microwave and begin layering the next 6 ingredients into the jar. Fill the jar until tightly packed, screw lid onto jar.
4) Allow contents to cool to room temperature then place into refrigerator. Allow to marinate at least 24 hours before serving.
5) Will last up to 10 days stored in the refrigerator.
Enjoy!! Make it a great day!!