I love the type of salad that when you see it, you can’t help but get hungry. Sometimes I stumble upon such boring salads that I feel like crying! It doesn’t have to be a painful experience, lol! This antipasto salad with balsamic dressing is full of different flavours and colours to make each bite an adventure.
Isn’t this salad super attractive? It’s inspired by antipasto, which is what Italians have before the main portion of the meal. This includes hams, cheeses, olives and veggies. The colours alone will catch your attention for sure. You have the pink from the hams, the red from the cherry tomatoes, the green hues from the olives, artichokes, basil and the white mozzarella. I served this salad with a balsamic vinaigrette which adds an extra component and marries everything together. It’s a pleasure to look at and to eat. If you like salads, I strongly recommend my salad recipes section!
Let’s talk olive oil
For the dressing, I used olive oil that you find here in Chile called Natura Selección Especial which is extra virgin and first cold-pressed. I think it’s a lovely opportunity to talk about olive oil and what all these words mean.
- Extra virgin: olive oil is considered extra virgin when its acidity level is below 0.8%. If it were labelled only “virgin”, then the acidity would be between 0.8% and 2%.
- “First” pressed: you can get several batches of olive oil from the same olives, just like you can make several teas with one bag. The first extraction (or press) is the one that tastes better and has a better aroma, too. To get more oil from the olives yo usually need to heat them up.
- “Cold-pressed”: even though nowadays most olive oil is made with centrifuges, we can sometimes see the word “press” being used. Other times it will be “cold extraction”, which is really more appropriate. To get more oil from the olives, you need to heat them up, but this affects the final product in a negative way. When it says “cold”, it means the olive was extracted at a temperature below 27ºC/80ºFm guaranteeing top flavour quality.
Now you know what your olive oil label means 🙂
I made this antipasto salad for two because there’s just two of us at home! However, if you like, you can click on the amount of portions it makes and slide the bar to adjust the portion amounts. As you do this, the amounts for the recipe with shift.
For the salad
- 70 g romaine lettuce
- 30 g green olives
- 30 g black olives
- 20 g sliced salame
- 20 g sliced prosciutto
- 50 g canned artichoke hearts cut in half
- 50 g bocconcini or other type of mozzarella, cubed
- 10 basil leaves
- 60 g cherry tomatoes cut in 4
For the dressing
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
For the salad
- Place all the ingredients on a serving dish. In general, I like to spread them and show them each on their section and mix at the table with the dressing.
For the dressing
- In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar.
- Add the olive oil little by little, whisking constantly.
- Stop whisking when the dressing has come together. The dressing isn't completely stable so you might have to whisk again before serving.