Sunday, November 21, 2010

Modena Balsamic Artichoke, Olive and Tomato Insalata

     This is a great, light, evening antipasti insalata.  This recipe is simple to make and the balsamic vinegar flavor is very satisfying!  Modena Italy is the home of great cave aged balsamic vinegar.
     Balsamic Vinaegrette Recipe:
     This recipe makes enough for one serving!  Virgin olive oil is a little too strong of a flavor for this salad and it may overwhelm the balsamic flavor.  The 3 to 1 oil to vinegar proportion rule does not usually apply to balsamic vinaegrette.  The vinaegrette should be loose and not fully emuslsified for this recipe.
     Place 1 tablespoon of Modena balsamic vinegar into a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
     Add 1 clove of chopped garlic.
     Add 3 to 4 leaves of chopped fresh basil.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Add 2 pinches of chopped Italian parsley.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice.
     Stir the ingredients together to form a loose vinaegrette.
     Modena Balsamic Artichoke, Olive and Tomato Insalata:
     Place a few thin julienne slices of onion in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 large artichoke hearts that are cut into quarters.  (Poached fresh artichoke hearts or good quality canned artichoke hearts can be used for this recipe.)
     Add 5 large pitted black olives that are cut in half.
     Add 1 ripe tomato that is cut into wedges.
     Add the balsamic vinaegrette.
     Gently toss the salad ingredients together.
     Allow the salad ingredients stand for five minutes to allow the flavors to meld.  (Do not marinate this salad for too much time, or the tomatoes will become mushy!)
     Place a small bed of small Boston Lettuce leaves on the middle of a plate.
     Mound the artichoke and tomato salad on the middle of the lettuce bed.
     This salad needs no garnish!
     This is a pretty salad with a great balsamic flavor.  Only make enough of the dressing to coat the salad ingredients.  Balsamic dressings are better when made fresh to order.  Modena Italy is famous for being the home of opera, Ferrari and balsamic vinegar.  What a sexy romantic combination!

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