MARINATED ANTIPASTO SALAD

MARINATED ANTIPASTO SALAD

Fresh mushrooms, sweet onion, artichoke hearts, tomatoes and black olives marinated for 24 hours in a fresh thyme and garlic red wine vinaigrette!

Serves 6-8

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup red vine vinegar

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and grated

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

several dashes black pepper

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, halved

1 medium sweet onion, sliced thinly into rings

7 fresh Italian (Roma) tomatoes, quartered from tip to tip

8 ounce can artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and halved

3&1/2 ounce can large pitted California black olives

5 marinated Tuscan peppers, cut crosswise into thin rings

6-8 fresh thyme sprigs

In large glass or stainless steel bowl combine oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir briskly with fork till thickened.

Add vegetables, one at a time, plus thyme sprigs, tossing gently to coat after each addition. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 24 hours, stirring every few hours. Note that the vegetables will not be completely submerged in the dressing, so stirring up from the bottom and then spooning dressing over the vegetables becomes necessary.

Twenty-four hours later, serve with lots of hot, fresh Italian bread.

Notes: I strongly urge you to use fresh thyme sprigs. You will be rewarded by a sensational taste experience. When serving, place a marinated sprig on each person’s plate–to be drawn through the mouth to extract the essence of thyme.

For Tuscan peppers, any mild pepperoncini will do.

Occasionally, in a can of artichokes you’ll find one or two with fibers that are too tough and prickly to chew. You can usually pick these out by sight, since their fibers are larger than most, but feel each one as you cut into it to be sure.

Since you’ll be tossing this salad many times during a 24 hour period, do so gently in order to preserve the fragile tomato forms. As the antipasto marinates notice a decrease in the size of the vegetables and an increase in marinade volume. This indicates that while the marinade is flavoring the vegetables some of the juices from the vegetables are being released into the marinade producing a delicious liquor in which to later dunk your bread.

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