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.
Prosciutto Consommé with Arugula and Melon
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.
Fritto Misto with Fennel and Lemons
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.
Roasted Red Peppers with Tonnato Sauce
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.
Eggplant Caponata with Golden Raisins
As a nod to the grape harvest, chef Ben Towill of Silkstone and The Fat Radish restaurant in New York City adds golden raisins to this tangy caponata. It's delicious on toast or with pecorino cheese.
Fried Baby Artichokes
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.
Grilled Fontina and Vegetable Antipasti
For an extra-savory sandwich, add a touch of grated Parmesan cheese.
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.
At tiny Frasca Food and Wine, Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson (a F&W Best New Chef 2005) is famous for his Friulian food.
Mushroom and Fontina Crostini
Maria Helm Sinskey likes to use Italian Fontina cheese, which melts beautifully, but young Gouda would be equally delicious.
Pancetta-Wrapped Asparagus with Citronette
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.
Red Wine Bagna Cauda with Crudités
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.
Honey-Tomato Bruschetta with Ricotta
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 Cheese-Stuffed Mushrooms with Bread Crumbs
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.
Lemony Chickpea Salad
Serve Tom Colicchio's fresh-tasting chickpea salad with warm, soft pita bread to soak up the olive oil dressing.
Goat Cheese-Stuffed Roasted Figs
This super simple recipe calls for only three ingredients.