We're spending Christmas in Cincinnati with my husband's family, whose holiday meal tradition is that dinner is different each time! This year, our big meal will be a turkey dinner on Christmas Eve, as some of our group will depart Christmas Day to visit other family members.
On the Tortora side, Christmas Day means raviolis with homemade tomato sauce and meatballs, and hot and mild Italian sausage. The meal always begins with an antipasto. This is a huge platter of salami, ham, prosciutto and other cured meats like capicola, plus provolone and mozzarella cheeses, assorted olives, pickled mushrooms and eggplant and stuffed hot peppers. Roasted garlic cloves, Italian bread and focacia round out the spread.
The appetizer is much like a charcuterie board. It's a great dish to serve at parties, especially during the holiday season. And you might be surprised at how much the kids enjoy it, too.
Last Christmas during our antipasto course, we discovered how much Sam enjoyed proscuitto, which he calls "thin meat." For weeks afterward he requested prosciutto sandwiches in his lunch box. Sam's love of this cured ham was re-ignited when he met this gorgeous platter at a gathering hosted by his Aunt Karen (who also took this photo.)
Karen's neighbor Kim crafted this masterpiece, and I'm planning to re-create it this week. Kim was thrilled that Sam and Karen's nephew Harrison were willing to try out the different combinations of meat and cheese. Here's Kim, sharing her foodie knowledge with newbies Sam (in orange) and Harrison:
The big surprise came when Sam consumed all of the proscuitto, all by himself. Luckily, Kim was a good sport, noting that at least the meats were domestic and not imported!
If you want to go all out, do get some Proscuitto di Parma for your table. It's definitely worth spending a little extra to try the real thing. Need tips on crafting the perfect charcuterie board? Click here. And if you enjoy beautiful charcuterie photos, check out In Parma by Food Roots on the web or follow the London restaurant: @inparma.
Merry Christmas and Mangia! Mangia!
P.S. Here's a shot of my family from last night as we enjoyed some Christmas decorations.