Italian Small Plates Deliver Big Flavor

Italian Small Plates Deliver Big Flavor

Charcuterie: salami, sopressata (a k a sopressa), prosciutto cotto, prosciutto crudo, coppa (a k a capicola), mortadella

Fish: smoked salmon or trout, canned anchovies, tuna, salt cod, salmon or trout roe

Cheese: mozzarella, mascarpone, ricotta, Asiago, Montasio, Robiola, Piave, Gorgonzola, Grana Padano

Preserves: olives or tapenade, pickled vegetables, roasted red peppers, pesto, nonpareil capers, savory jams or relishes

Fresh fruits and vegetables: onions, greens, zucchini, pumpkin or squash, tomatoes, artichokes, grapes, stone fruit

Other: bread, polenta, eggs, breadcrumbs, extra-virgin olive oil


  • Canned anchovies are terrific on crostini or draped over hard-boiled eggs, but they can be intensely salty. For a fresher flavor, rinse the anchovies, soak them in water or milk for an hour, then pat dry and store covered in olive oil.
  • For optimal flavor, take cheeses and cured meats out of the refrigerator an hour before assembling and serving your cicchetti.
  • To facilitate your cicchetti experiments, cook these vegetables ahead of time to keep in the fridge: caramelized onions, braised greens, sautéed zucchini, roasted pumpkin or squash.
  • Look for Italian products marked Denominazione di Origine Protetta (DOP) or Indicazione Geografica Protetta (IGP), which are geographical indications akin to wine designations that ensure regulation and adherence to standards.


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