These incredible first course recipes include fried baby artichokes and fig-and-prosciutto flatbreads.
Food & Wine
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Pinzimonio with Tonnato Sauce
Pinzimonio is a supersimple Italian dish of raw vegetables served with seasoned olive oil for dipping. In his clever variation, Nate Appleman replaces the olive oil with tonnato, a creamy sauce made with tuna and lemon.
Michael Carlson's prosciutto consommé with melon balls is a clever riff on the classic prosciutto-and-melon combination. What makes it astonishing is the crystal-clear flavor of the delicate prosciutto broth—such a great alternative to the usual chicken or beef.
The flavors in this crispy seafood dish echo those in Grace Parisi's high-end pan roast, but Melissa Rubel Jacobson chose less expensive seafood for her interpretation. "I used only a thin coating of batter—somewhere between a beer batter and tempura—so the flavor of the fish doesn't get lost," she says.
Tonnato sauce—a smooth puree of olive oil-packed tuna, mayonnaise, capers and anchovies—is traditionally served in Piedmont with slices of roasted veal. Chef Andrew Feinberg spoons the sauce onto a plate then tops it with a layer of wood oven—roasted peppers.
This recipe is based on a preparation that originated in Rome's Jewish ghetto. It is one of Palma D'Orazio's most requested dishes at her New York City restaurant, Palma. Frying brings out the artichokes' sweetness.
A staple at Todd English's Olives restaurants is his much-lauded house-made flatbread, topped with sticky-sweet fig jam, pungent Gorgonzola cheese and salty prosciutto. In the easy way, use store-bought pizza dough instead of homemade.
In Mario Batali's riff on the traditional antipasto of prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, he wraps spears in pancetta (which, unlike prosciutto, becomes nicely crispy when cooked) and grills them. Adding a bit of tanginess is the citronette, a marvelously bright-tasting mustardy-orange dressing.
This garnet sauce is Chris Cosentino's take on the classic Piedmontese anchovy-and-olive-oil dip, enriched here with red wine. Italian for "hot bath," bagna cauda is served warm with crudités. This version, with both oil-packed and marinated anchovies, doubles as a terrific sauce for grilled meat.
In this amazing appetizer, two types of honey serve two distinct purposes: Mellow, slightly spicy clover honey intensifies the sweetness of the tangy tomatoes as they slowly roast. After the bruschetta is assembled, a drizzle of robust buckwheat honey balances the creamy ricotta cheese.
Goat's-milk cheeses are typically lower in cholesterol, calories and fat—and higher in calcium—than cow's-milk ones. Here, creamy chèvre is stuffed into antioxidant-rich mushrooms and topped with crispy herbed bread crumbs.