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Monday
Nov192012

An Italian Thanksgiving Antipasto - Part 3

This is the third and final installment of Creating an Italian Thanksgiving Antipasto.

So far, we've covered bread and where to buy it, given you olive recommendations – including a recipe for marinated olives, and also made some cheese selections.

Now we move onto the fruit and crazy....I mean fruit and nuts. Because it's gonna get kinda...nuts, that is.

Are you following me? Most likely not. 

If you still are with me (bless your souls), we are going to focus on figs. At this time of year, fig season is starting to wind down. It closes in around December and then you won't see the little guys until June, so in order to give them a proper send off, I suggest you eat all the fresh ones you can. 

WHAAAT? Can't find fresh ones, you say? This is indeed sad, but not tragic, as the dried ones are quite juicy and will be a welcome addition to any antipasto.

If you can locate fresh figs, I suggest toasting them up a bit. You can do this easily in a frying pan with a little water and brown sugar. Here's how:

What You Need:

1 basket fresh, ripe figs. Ripe figs will be slightly soft to the touch. If they are too firm, they're not ready yet. You can use either Black Mission Figs, or White figs, which actually look green.

1-2 Tablepoons brown sugar

2 Tablespoons water

What To Do:

Using a knife, cut the figs in half.

Heat a frying pan on your stove top over medium heat. Pour in the water and sprinkle in the brown sugar. Allow it to heat up a bit, but don't let it burn. Prevent burning by stirring with a wooden spoon or heat-proof spatula.

Add the figs and let them soak up the sugary juices for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and place in a small bowl.

Serve along side the above-mentioned bread, olive and cheese. Add in some roasted chestnuts (you can purchase them pre-roasted, or use our recipe here), freshly made cranberry sauce. I make a wonderful (if I do say so myself) Orange Spiced Cranberry Sauce. If you'd like to make it too, here's how to do it:

What You Need:

12 ounce bag of cranberries

1/2 cup of honey

2-3 T firmly packed brown sugar

2 three inch cinnamon sticks

6 whole cloves

1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

3/4 cup water

Half an orange or tangerine

What To Do:

Cut the orange into wedges and pierce the outer skin with 3 whole cloves a piece.

In a saucepan, combine the cranberries, honey, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves stuck in orange wedges, nutmeg and water and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for 5-10 minutes or until the cranberries have burst and the mixture is thickened. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and let it cool. Can be made 2 days in advance, covered and chilled.

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