|1 Treviso chicory|
|300 g Culatello di Zibello P.D.O|
|2 young zucchini|
|2 celery stalks|
|Extra virgin olive oil as necessary|
|1 red pepper|
|1 yellow pepper|
|1 green pepper|
|20 thin breadsticks|
There’s nothing more classic and crowd-pleasing as a simple, delicious dip. It’s an all-time favorite you can almost call it retro. In Italy, when it comes to dips, we like to keep things simple, and they often consist of no more than extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. When you have fragrant extra virgin olive oil and beautiful fresh produce to match, less is more to let the flavors truly shine.
Generally, we like to use a mix of carrots, fennel, celery and cucumbers but variations are aplenty: red and yellow bell peppers radish, Treviso chicory, and also very young zucchini (those light green skin) are also great options. This starter can be an idea for an impromptu dinner or as a snack whilst waiting for the pasta to be ready. Even children will like the idea of dipping the vegetables in the oil.
Enriching the dish with breadsticks wrapped in cured or cooked Culatello di Zibello P.D.O. or mortadella makes for a light starter that is generous yet balanced, that can satisfy a bout of hunger when you have no desire to cook. This can also be the perfect last minute party-saver, perhaps served alongside other sauces like a cheese-based sauce, a green sauce or even a tuna sauce lightened with white yoghurt.
Preparing this starter is so easy: wash all the vegetables under very cold water. Deseed the peppers, removing the ribs, and then cut them into thin slices. Peel the carrots and celery, eliminating their tough outer skin. Do the same with zucchini. Wash the radishes and trim both ends. Clean the fennel using a knife, eliminating any bruised outer parts, and then cut into slices. If you don’t plan to serve this right away, keep the vegetables in a bowl full of cold water and store in the fridge.
Depending on the situation you may prepare the dip in one or more bowls. Don’t go overboard with quantity – if required, you can easily prepare more in no time. Pour the oil in the bowl or bowls, add a pinch of salt and then add in some freshly ground pepper. Use a fork or a whisk to mix everything well and the dip is ready.
Be sure to prepare the Culatello di Zibello P.D.O with breadsticks just before serving in order to keep the cold cut as fresh as possible. Simply wrap a slice of the Culatello di Zibello P.D.O. around a breadstick to serve. Serve the cut vegetables separated in different cups or in small pitchers. The important thing is that the vegetables must be higher than the rim of the serving vessel so your guests can grasp them with ease. The radishes can be served with toothpicks or placed in a small bowl as with the other sauces you may decide to serve on the side.