LIKE IN: Amalfi, Italy
You may not always be able to travel to a destination of your choice because of your unique circumstances. So, why not bring the destination to you!? Today we’re bringing the Amalfi in Italy to your home.
Our lemon spritzers recipe is just what you need to set the mood as your guests arrive. A perfect aperitivo which you can finish off with an olive selection on the side – just for the nibble.
Italians love to stretch the meal and chat. So the next pre-course is the antipasto. Choose something that’s quick and easy to do. Don’t go too heavy, rather keep it light because there are much more to come. Remember to fill it up as you go along.
Keep your guests hydrated and your table pretty. Use a decanter or any glass container that you can pour water from, to fill it with water, mint and lemon slices. In the summer it is a good idea to add some ice.
Extra Tip: Use napkins (serviettes) and table runners with lemon prints to add a touch of Amalfi.
A primo is slightly heavier than the antipasto, but not as heavy as the second course. My personal choice is a butternut soup, or any vegetarian soup for that matter. This is because it really is not too heavy, and is well served in small portions.
Again I go for simple, but sufficient and smart. Small portions, not heavy on the garnish, and just enough to keep the tummies filled while everyone is by now enjoying a Prosecco.
If you don’t have Prosecco, try a local sparkling wine instead. Whatever you do, don’t use Champagne. It is not a French celebration. We’ll use the Champagne on another occasion!
A quicky, and a nice touch, is to drop a strawberry in every glass!
Italians love enjoying the flavor of food, so it is important to pair the right wine with the meal.
To Italians, eating is not a race. It is to be enjoyed, rather than to be served in a hurry. So, take your time between courses.
I like to dish fresh Norwegian salmon for this course. It is another quicky to prepare and always a winner.
That said, you may opt for any type of fish, or sausage, turkey, pork, chicken, lobster, beef, stew, or steak. The emphasis remains on small portions because the end is not yet in sight.
At this point, your guests should be chatting away quite happily and you may want to open a rosé wine. It got its colors from the grapes but is still a light enough wine to pair with the salmon.
A contorno is served alongside a secondo piatto. Fresh asparagus is a great combination with the salmon and the rosé wine.
You can use any other vegetable, raw or cooked, hot or cold.
The northern European style is to serve the contorno on the same plate as the secondi. It is really up to you. I guess it depends whether or not your dishwasher is still coping at this point in time!
Another addition to your secondi is a fresh garden salad. Rocket goes extremely well with salmon. You may choose to plate the salad, or toss it.
Do not put out a salad dressing. Rather go for a quality extra virgin olive oil, and an aged balsamic vinegar.
By now your guests will be like true Italians. They will enjoy the longer mealtime, speak to one another and have meaningful conversations, make a new friend or two, and enjoy the experience together.
The cheese platter is probably one of my most favorite courses.
Plate Italian cheeses and fresh seasonal fruit. Or, plate the cheeses with everything fig for a theme- platter. Figs and cheese go very well together.
Popular Italian cheeses are Grana Padano and Parmigiano-Reggiano, Mascarpone, the well-known Gorgonzola blue cheese, Mozzarella, and Ricotta.
Of course this is the highlight to many a sweet tooth. But not all your guests may enjoy something sweet. I like to have a choice of two desserts varying from tiramisu, panna cotta, a gelato to a sorbetto.
A strong coffee, such as espresso, is sometimes preferred after the digestivo. Serve the espresso while hot and in small cups.
The ammazzacaffè concludes the meal. The purpose of the digestivo is to ease digestion after a long meal. Limoncello, grappa and amaro are the most appropriate digestivo.
Alternatively, serve other fruit/herbal drinks.