Ted Allen, Trio of Antipasti recipes

September 25, 2010 8:30:28 AM PDT
One of the best things about the Italian way of cooking and eating is that it's so simple. You start with delicious, fresh ingredients that are in-season, prepare them simply, and dig in. When they're out of season, what do you do? You don't eat them! There's no better example of that philosophy than the antipasto platter, one of my favorite things --and the perfect starter for people who love variety. Here, I've come up with three simple appetizer dishes that are perfect for entertaining (admittedly, the bourbon in the fava-bean dish is a distinctly American touch, but it really makes for good caramelized shallots!). Buon appetito!

Grilled Asparagus Wrapped with Speck or Prosciutto
Pair with Robert Mondavi Private Selection Pinot Noir

1 lb bunch of thick asparagus bottoms snapped
Salt and black pepper to taste
Olive oil to drizzle over asparagus
16 thin slices of speck

1. Place a medium saucepan half full with water over high heat, bring to a boil, then add half a teaspoon (or so) of salt. Add the asparagus to the water and cook for one minute; drain and place in a bowl of ice water.

2. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. Remove the asparagus from the water, dry them, toss with olive oil and season with salt. Place asparagus on the grill and cook until done and nicely charred, about 2-3 minutes per side.

3. Take each asparagus spear and wrap with one slice of speck, leaving the tips exposed, and serve.

Edamame Spread with Tarragon and Ricotta
Pair with 2007 CALCAIRE Chardonnay

1 lb edamame beans shelled
2 large shallots peeled and slice into thin half moons
1t butter
2t makers mark bourbon (optional)
1 small clove garlic peeled and smashed
3 T ricotta cheese the freshest you can find
2T extra virgin olive oil
1 T fresh lemon juice plus 1/2t fresh lemon zest
2T freshly chopped tarragon
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Endive leaves, cucumber slices or sliced toasted baguette

1. Place a medium saucepan half full of water and a pinch of salt over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the shelled edamame beans, bring the water back to a boil and cook for 1 minute, drain and place in a bowl filled with ice water to stop cooking.

2. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter, add the shallots and cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally about 7 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the bourbon, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper.

3. While the shallots cook, drain the edamame and peel the tough outer skin from them and pop them into a bowl. There should be about 1 1/4 cup of shelled beans. Place the edamame, cooked shallots, garlic, ricotta cheese, olive oil, lemon juice and zest in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to make a thick, slightly chunky puree. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and mix in the chopped tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Spoon into endive spears, cucumber slices, or onto toasted bread, and serve.

Strawberry and Tomato Bruschetta
Pair with Robert Mondavi Private Selection Meritage

1 baguette sliced on the diagonal 1/2 in thick
Olive oil to coat bread
1 c fresh ripe strawberries washed and hulled sliced into 1/4 s
1 c. cherry tomatoes 1/2ed
1 small garlic minced
3 T fresh basil rolled and sliced into thin slivers
2T extra virgin olive oil
2t aged balsamic vinegar
Salt and fresh pepper to taste

1. Place the sliced bread on a sheet pan and brush with olive oil. Heat indoor or out door grill to med high and grill bread until golden all over about 1 or 2 minutes per side

2. In a med bowl combine the strawberries tomatoes garlic basil olive oil balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper and mix to com bine.

3. Place the grilled bread on a platter and top with a heaping tablespoon of the strawberry tomato salad and enjoy

When and Where to Meet Ted Allen

Chicago Gourmet
201 E. Randolph St
Chicago, Ill

Saturday, 9/25, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
12:00 p.m.: Ted Allen: Ribbon Cutting
3:30 p.m.: Ted Allen Cooking Demo, Robert Mondavi Discover Wine site
4:30 - 5 p.m.: Ted Allen Book Signing
5:30 p.m.: Ted Allen Cooking Demo with Chef Jose Garces, Main Stage

For more information, log on to www.chicagogourmet.org.


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