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Old 01-09-2004, 02:14 PM   #1
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Antipasto Salad with Basil Garlic Oil Dressing

Antipasto Salad with Basil Garlic Oil Dressing
Serves 6

2 large red bell peppers
1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 pound thinly sliced prosciutto
2 8-oz. balls of fresh water-packed mozzarella cheese, drained, thinly sliced into rounds (sometimes I can only find the smaller size and they work well too - just make sure you have 16 oz.)
4 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
**6 hard boiled eggs, sliced into 1/4" thick rounds
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pittled and coarsely chopped

Char peppers directly over gas flame or under broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in a paper bag or place in a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 10 - 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle remove skin under cold running water, make sure seeds are gone too, and slice thin.

Combine basil leaves, garlic, and salt in a food processor and blend to a coarse puree. With machine running gradually drizzle in olive oil. Transfer basil oil to bottle.

You can prepare up to this point 1 day ahead. Just put oil in refrigerator and place peppers in covered bowl or baggie.

Arrange prosciutto around edge of platter. Arrange cheese slices within circle of prosciutto and tomatoes within circle of cheese. Tuck in egg slices; top with pepper strips. Sprinkle salad with olives. I will make this up to this point and drizzle a little of the oil on the fresh mozzarella so it can be gaining flavor. Serve with remaining basil oil.

**I only used the eggs the first time I made it. I don't feel it adds anything to the dish and find it more enjoyable without them.

I also like to use a mesclun mix on the bottom of the plate/bowl if using this as a salad coarse. You can also place on individual plates, salad mix on bottom, then 3 tomato slices, proscuitto, mozzarella, red pepper, olives, drizzle with a little oil then serve the rest on the side.

At times this has been our meal with some great Italian bread a local restaurant makes.

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