Tuesday, 14 June 2011


The whole of this month, we shall be celebrating the delectable taste of Italian cuisine at Nature's Basket with new Italian products lining our shelves and Italian food workshops  and events to cater to the ever increasing popularity of Italian cuisine in India.

This post is all about antipasto- a mini meal before the entree. Antipasti are Italian starters or entrees, the beginning of a traditional Italian meal. Antipasto need not be complicated; in fact it can be as simple as a bowl of olives, some bread, and good olive oil for dipping or as complicated as a platter of gourmet cold meats, cheeses and bottles pickles like olives, capers, peppers and the likes.

Antipasto platters look and taste spectacular and are simple to put together. Though they're traditionally served as a prelude to a meal, they can often be turned them into the main event itself, either as a casual supper or a party tray with wine and beer. They also work well as a casual meal option since the lack of cooking required (most of the stuff can be outsourced) makes them ideal for relaxed weekend fare. Just add good bread and a green salad. It is now easy to put together an Anitpasto platter in Mumbaias Nature’s Basket outlets around the city carry everything from basics like Olives in brine to a selection of gourmet antipasti including marinated Olives, Mushrooms, Artichokes, Grilled vegetables in Olive oil. You can also supplement your platter with a variety of cheeses and Salamis.

Eggplant Relish Recipe


  • 1 medium eggplants, cut into 2” cubes

  • 3 tbsp sea salt

  • ½ cup bell peppers, red and yellow

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 medium onions, chopped

  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 2” cubes

  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped

  • ½ tsp sugar

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed (do not substitute cilantro leaves)

  • 1 tbsp capers, drained

  • black pepper, freshly ground

  • ¼ fresh basil, chopped

  • ¼ cup green olives with pimento


  1. Put the eggplant into a bowl and add salt. Stir gently to cover.

  2. Cover with paper towels and set a plate inside the bowl. Place a can on the plate to weight it. Let sit for 1 hour.

  3. When the eggplant is almost ready, cut the peppers into strips.

  4. Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions aretranslucent.

  5. Drain the eggplant cubes and rinse with water. Dry with paper towels.

  6. Heat ½ cup of olive oil in the pot and raise the heat to medium.

  7. Add the eggplant and peppers and fry them until they are just turning brown, about 10 minutes.

  8. Add the zucchini and ¼ cup olive oil. Cook until brown.

  9. Add the tomatoes to pot and lower heat.

  10. Stir in the sugar, basil, black pepper, and coriander. Bring the pot to a simmer. Stir frequently, until the tomatoes have begun to reduce, about 15 minutes.

  11. Stir in the capers and olives, and simmer about 15 minutes.

Goat Cheese with Basil and Sun-Dried Tomatoes Recipe


  • Chèvre goat cheese

  • 4 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, chopped

  • 4 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

  • 1 tbsp slivered almonds


  1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor.

  2. Place in a bowl and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

  3. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Antipasto Platter

  • Iceberg lettuce

  • 1 tbsp garlic powder

  • 1 tbsp dried oregano

  • 1  bottle Italian-style salad dressing

  • sliced provolone cheese

  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms

  • 1 cup roasted red peppers

  • ½ cup sliced black olives

  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes

  • 5-6 asparagus sprigs-char-grilled/roasted

  • ½ cup sliced pimento-stuffed green olives

  • 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

  • 1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Remove large outer leaves from the heads of lettuce. Arrange approximately 1/3 in a layer on a large serving platter. Sprinkle with 1/3 garlic powder, 1/3 crushed oregano and desired amount of Italian-style salad dressing. Layer with Provolone cheese.

  2. Repeat layering with remaining lettuce, garlic powder, crushed oregano, Italian-style salad dressing.

  3. Layer with mushrooms, roasted red peppers, black olives, pimento-stuffed green olives. Sprinkle with more Italian-style salad dressing, as desired.

  4. Top with Gorgonzola cheese, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until serving.

  5. Serve with breadsticks or fresh bread.

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