What do you do on hot, summer days when you want something tasty but even turning on the grill is too much? You go to the store and get all the ingredients for a no-cook cold antipasto platter! All summer long we match cheeses and meats from the store with locally fresh fruits and vegetables for those nights when it’s too hot to cook. Add some bread (and wine) and you have dinner!
While this summer has been particularly cool and rainy (a weird change from last year’s long, hot drought!), we have had our fair share of hot and humid evenings when I haven’t even wanted to turn on the grill. Not so much because having the grill on outside is too hot, but more that the weather has sapped all my energy.
On those nights I love to mix and match meats and cheeses from the supermarket with fruits and veggies I have on hand from my last trip to the farm stand, then add in a few easy to prepare items (if I have the energy), and call it dinner. It’s the sort of meal you can keep simple for two or scale up with more choices for a crowd.
Tasty, easy, and versatile! There is a reason I keep coming back to versions of this meal. 🙂
I probably make some version of this meal every week or two all summer long.
What are the basic components of my summer antipasto platter?
Tomatoes! Once the first ripe, local tomatoes show up we can’t get enough of them, starting with the early cherry tomatoes and continuing to beefsteak and heirloom varieties. So I always slice up a few whenever I’m making antipasto. In fact, you could almost say my antipasto is my caprese salad plus extras, since I always start from tomatoes and either burrata or mozzarella.
Cheese!! For a simple antipasto I either get burrata or mozzarella and call it a day. If I want to make a bigger platter, I add in either one or two more cheeses, like ricotta stuffed into peppers, slices of fontina, maybe a soft herbed cheese, some parmesan curls, or whatever else catches my fancy. A fun thing is to see what sorts of local cheeses you have available, which can provide some new and interesting flavors.
Cured Meats. As with the cheese, I will do one for just the two of us, and two or three types for a larger group. For this antipasto platter I bought Genoa salami and capocollo. Other choices include: summer sausage, hard salami, prosciutto, mortadella, pepperoni, soppresata, and more! See what’s available where you are, and of course for a vegetarian platter go with the cheeses and beans while skipping the meats.
Fruit. What fruit I use depends on what is in season and what I have in the house. There is always some fruit, but it can range from berries, to wedges of melon, to sliced peaches, to tiny plums like I have in the pictures.
Bread/Crackers. I prefer a crusty bread sliced up alongside the platter, but I’ll go with either depending on what I have in the house or whether I went to the store.
Extras! This the fun part where you can add whatever bits you like. Things like arugula tossed with a simple vinaigrette, marinated olives, marinated beans, pickled onions, stuffed peppers, various spreads or dips that you find in your local market, leftover pasta salad, things I’m not thinking of but which immediately come to mind for you.
Wine. I consider a nice glass of red to be a great way to round out the meal for the adults in the family. I tend to pick a fruity red, like a Zin, but whatever wine you love will be wonderful with the meal. If you go with a white, I find a sparkling wine is nice on a hot day.
There you have it! My favorite no-cook cold antipasto. All set out on a platter for everyone to pick and choose and take what they want.
Though I should mention, in the interest of full disclosure, I did bake that bread. 🙂 I’ve been working a no-knead focaccia and it seemed the perfect time to make a batch. Happily I didn’t actually die from the heat of the oven that day, but I came close since it was the perfect day to make cold antipasto. Hot, humid, and sticky.
As soon as I put my camera down, we were on the deck, opening the wine, and passing around the platter.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
- 2-3 sliced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 8 oz burrata or mozzarella
- 8 oz sliced cured meats, such as salami or proscuitto
- 1 cup marinated olives
- sliced crusty bread
- 2 cups fruits, such as peaches, melon, or berries
- olive oil and balsamic vinegar
- stuffed red peppers
- 1 14 oz can butter beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- kosher salt, to taste
Arrange the tomatoes, meats, cheeses, olives, fruit, bread, and any other items you have chosen on a large platter. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and serve.
These are best made the night before so they have time to marinate. Put the butter beans in a sealable container. Mix together the marinade ingredients. Pour the the marinade over the beans. Toss to combine and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
- Choose one cheese and one meat for a small platter and 2-3 of each for a larger one.
- Also, for a larger platter you can add other types of foods. Marinated artichoke hearts, other fresh vegetables like sliced cucumbers or carrots, sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, cooked shrimp, marinated seafood salads, fig jam, and spiced nuts are a few of the foods which come to mind as possible additions.
- I gave some ballpark amounts for the various parts of the platter. The exact amounts are up to you.