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The Before Meal Dish

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The Before Meal Dish

By Shantae Taylor 

Restaurants are experts at knowing how to stimulate a person’s appetite by having small servings of food before the meal. In America, we call it the appetizer, in Italy it’s known as Antipasto. The word antipasto is derived from the Latin word root “anti” meaning before and “pastus”, which means meal. This pre-meal dish can be served hot or cold, cooked or raw. It can be served individually or in small pieces on a plate that is passed around the table. 

In Italy  an appetizer is usually for special occasions such as family reunions, special gatherings, religious ceremonies, birthday parties, or romantic dinners. Presentation is also key when it comes to serving the antipasto, color and design are important considerations for this course because it lets guests know that they are about to indulge in something great.  In restaurants, there is a wide range of antipasti displayed on buffet tables or in refrigerated bars. If you’d like  to try a quick antipasto recipe try this one out form The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:Holidays and Special Occasions

Spinach & Shrimp Turnovers


Serves 4-6.

  • 20 large spinach leaves
  • 18 shrimp (steamed) cleaned, deveined, peeled
  • ¹⁄8 cup butter (unsalted & softened)
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 2 anchovy fillets packed in oil

Wash spinach leaves and cook in boiling water for 30 seconds, drain, dry well and leave in a colander to drain. Chop anchovies and capers together. Place in a bowl the butter, chopped capers and anchovies. Blend together with wooden spoon. Separate the spinach leaves. On a plate fold out one leaf at a time and place a small about 1 tsp of butter mix­ture topped with some shrimp pieces. Fold leaf over so you have a sack or turnover.

Place in refrigerator till time to serve.

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For more recipes get your copy of the award winning The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions


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