An array of Italian cured meats and cheese inspired this lively chopped salad, topped with zesty peperoncini. The plate becomes especially pretty if you use a mixture of red and yellow cherry tomatoes.
Antipasto Salad with Peperoncini Vinaigrette
For the crostini:
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 sourdough baguette
For the peperoncini vinaigrette:
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) red wine vinegar
5 peperoncini, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 Tbs. minced fresh oregano
2 tsp. sugar
6 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./90 ml.) extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (1 1/2 lb./750 g.) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
8 oz. (250 g.) provolone cheese, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm.) cubes
1-2 cups (1-2 oz./30-60 g.) arugula leaves, stemmed
10 oz. (315 g.) thinly sliced prosciutto
To make the crostini, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). In a bowl, mix together the 1/4 cup oil and the garlic. Cut the baguette into 18 slices, each about 1/2 inch (12 mm.) thick, and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush both sides of the baguette slices with the garlic oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Toast in the oven until crisp and lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Let cool.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, peperoncini, oregano, sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the 6 tablespoons oil in a thin stream, whisking until the dressing is well blended.
In a bowl, toss the tomatoes with the 1/4 teaspoon salt and let stand until they release their juices, about 5 minutes, then drain. Pit and peel the avocados and cut them crosswise into slices about 3/8 inch (1 cm.) thick. Sprinkle with a large pinch of salt.
Arrange the tomatoes, avocados, cheese and arugula on a large platter. Whisk the vinaigrette to recombine, then drizzle it over the arranged salad. Arrange the prosciutto and crostini on the platter and serve. Serves 6.]
Find more creative and colorful salads in our cookbook Salad of the Day, by Georgeanne Brennan.