Dip with cold cuts, vegetables and breadsticks
A starter for a last minute dinner or to keep the burners off.
|Extra-virgin olive oil as necessary|
|300 g cured ham|
|2 celery stalks|
|2 young zucchini|
|1 Treviso chicory|
|1 red pepper|
|1 yellow pepper|
|1 green pepper|
|20 thin breadsticks|
The dip is a true classic when it comes to starters. More than evergreen we can call it retro or even antique. The dip has ancient origins and is nothing more than a mix of extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper where the raw vegetables, cut into sticks, are dipped. Generally, we use carrots, fennel, celery or cucumbers but possibilities are endless: even red and yellow peppers can be cut into sticks, or radishes or Treviso chicory, or if you have very young zucchini (those that have a light green skin).
The dip can be served for an impromptu dinner or for a snack while waiting for the pasta to be ready. Even children will like the idea of dipping the vegetables in the oil. Enriching this dish with breadsticks wrapped in cured or cooked ham or mortadella makes for a light starter while watching tv that is still generous and very balanced, able to satisfy a bout of hunger when you have no desire to start cooking.
The dip can be a party-saver, maybe also serving it with another cheese sauce or with green sauce or a tuna sauce lightened by adding white yoghurt.
Nothing could be easier. Wash all the vegetables under very cold water. Clean the peppers thoroughly, removing the white part and the seeds, and then cut them into strips. Peel the carrots and celery, eliminating their outsides. Do the same with zucchini. Wash the radishes and cut off both their ends.
Clean the fennel with a knife, eliminating bruised outer leaves, and then cut it into slices. If you don’t have to serve this starter right away then keep the vegetables in the fridge in a bowl full of cold water. Depending on the situation you can prepare the dip in one or more bowls.
Do not overdo the quantity of dip. If the mix is finished you can always prepare more very quickly. Pour the oil, add a pinch of salt and then grind in the fresh pepper. Use a fork or a whisk to mix everything well and the dip is ready. Wait until the last minute to prepare the ham with breadsticks in order to keep the cold cut as cool as long as possible.
To make this snack just wrap a slice of the cold cut around a breadstick. Serve the vegetables cut into sticks each in a different cup or in small pitchers.
The important thing is that the vegetables must be higher than the container so your guests can grasp them with ease. The radishes can be stuck on toothpicks or put in a small fruit salad bowl like the other sauces you may decide to serve.