Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Antipasto is served primo del pasto; before the meal. We call them appetizers. While there are many, many ingredients that can be included in Antipasto, these are traditionally represented in various forms: meats, cheeses, and marinated vegetables.
Antipasto is served when you sit down to eat, because the variety of pickled and marinated items alone would make a mess if they should slide off your plate and onto Mama’s carpet!
Pinwheels are the perfect mechanism for transforming an entire sit-down Antipasto platter into one neat and clean buffet bite. Like any other pinwheel, these are insanely easy to prepare but they will totally outshine the ones that Aunt Martha made with boiled ham and cheese spread! (Bless her heart, she means well.)
For the benefit of those who have never made Pinwheels, I give a fairly detailed description for assembly. As you craft your own versions place the ingredients in the order that satisfies you the most. Add anything you would normally include on an Antipasto platter to your own pinwheels. You might make some that are exclusively vegetarian or experiment with a few different cheeses or meats.
Yield: 48 Total time: 30 Minutes + 1½ Hours Unattended in Refrigerator
• 4 Cloves Garlic Confit (See Tips and Trending below)
• 8 ounces Cream Cheese, at room temperature
• 6 Flour Tortillas, 10” burrito size
• 6 Ounces Smoked Provolone Cheese, cut into ½”x½” sticks (See Tips and Trending below)
• 12 Kalamata Olives, cut in quarters lengthwise
• ¼ Pound Genoa Salami, sliced paper thin
• 12 Marinated Mushrooms, sliced
• 6 Pepperoncini, seeded and quartered
• ¼ Pound Prosciutto, sliced paper thin
• 3 Marinated Artichoke Hearts, cut in eighths
Step 1. In a small bowl mash Garlic Confit and combine with Cream Cheese, stirring until smooth.
Step 2. Assemble Pinwheels into logs by laying one Tortilla on the preparation surface. Trim about 1” off the right and left to make flat sides. Spread 1⅓ ounces of the Cream Cheese mixture over the entire top surface of the Tortilla.
Step 3. Beginning ½” from the edge nearest to you, lay the Provolone Cheese sticks end to end across the Tortilla
Step 4. Beyond the Provolone Cheese lay 8 Kalamata Olive quarters end to end across the tortilla
Step 5. Next lay 3 slices of Salami torn in half, across the Tortilla.
Step 6. Continue with each of the other ingredients, making sure that you leave about 1½“ at the top edge of the Tortilla with nothing but Cream Cheese mixture.
Step 7. Gently press down on all of the fillings to set them into the Cream Cheese and tightly roll up the Tortilla beginning at the edge nearest you. The Cream Cheese without any fillings on top will serve to seal the finished log.
Step 8. As you complete each Tortilla, roll each log tightly in a sheet of plastic wrap. Make sure that the plastic wrap is at least 4 inches wider than the log so you can tuck the ends over to seal completely. Chill the wrapped logs for 1½ hours to firm up.
Before serving, remove the plastic wrap and cut each log into 8 slices and arrange on a serving plate with the cut sides up to show the spiraling Pinwheel.
Tips and Trending
~ My preferred deli doesn’t always have slabs of unsliced Smoked Provolone cheese. In that case, I buy the sliced versions; stack up the slices ½” high and cut my ½” x ½” sticks from that.
~ Any commercially prepared garlic in olive oil can be substituted for homemade garlic confit.
~ To rapidly soften refrigerated cream cheese, submerge the sealed foil package in very hot tap water for about 10 minutes. Don’t microwave it – you’ll end up with hot and cold spots and the hot will be way too runny.
~ To easily keep all of the pinwheels identical in thickness, start by cutting the log first in half, and then cut each half in half again and so on.
~ The pinwheels can be cut several hours in advance and refrigerated but they must be tightly covered with plastic wrap to prevent the tortillas from drying out.