We have just enjoyed a visit from our west coast son. It's amazing how fast a week can pass! There were museum visits: The Vivian Maier Photo Exhibit at the Chicago History Museum and The Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes at the Museum of Contemporary Art. If you're in the city, both are worth a look. There were neighborhood stops to make as well. Breakfast at Twelve Islands and a look-around at our neighbor's antique shop, Old Green Shutters where an Indie movie is being filmed. I don't believe there has been any of that since Johnny Depp was in town filming "Public Enemy" a few year's ago.
There were favorite foods, from breakfast to dinner to cookies, to prepare and enjoy. But, I didn't want to spend too much time in the kitchen.
One evening's meal was what I called antipasto. The question is, however, can it be antipasto if it isn't followed by primo or secondo or contorno or...? With a nod to my Italian friends, here is what I've dubbed "antipasto".
I spied this delicious dish on the front of a Martha Stewart magazine and knew we had to have that on the menu while heirloom tomatoes were in the market. I picked out a ciabatta that was as close to a rectangle as possible and cut it in half, lengthwise. A quick rub with garlic and a brush of olive oil was all it needed before toasting in a 325 degree oven for about ten minutes. When cool, I spread a very thin layer of mayonnaise to keep the bread from getting soggy from the juicy tomatoes. Thinly sliced tomatoes sprinkled with salt and pepper were all we needed for a delicious starter. While the tomatoes looked beautiful placed together, I think I'll mix them up next time.
Next came what I'm calling the antipasto.
Two good cheeses from Wisconsin: A five-year old cheddar and a slightly soft Vale cheese. I know there should be one more but no one complained. Sliced Polish sausage, a mixture of marinated olives and roasted asparagus. The only part that I actually prepared was the asparagus. It wasn't local but looked so good at the market. Very fresh.
Here's the simple preparation:
1 pound asparagus (these were thin and uniform in size), peeled
(I always peel asparagus but you don't have to if it's very fresh)
Olive oil, enough to just coat each spear
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
425 degree oven
1. Spread in one layer on a sided baking pan.
2. Roast for about ten minutes
3. Serve hot or at room temperature.