Authentic Italian Cooking

Italian Xmas recipes: antipasto

Traditional Italian Christmas starters vary greatly from region to region. Typically we Italians serve assorted salami, pates, croutons, tartine, puff pastries, Russian salad, fried fish, meat or vegetables, smoked fish ... But here you'll be able to find new ideas too. One thing is certain. We left behind those gargantuan entrees that made us feel already satiated even before eating the first course (pasta or rice dishes). Memories of the past ;)

Assorted canapes garnished with kiwi fruit and prawns
Assorted light canapés for Italian Xmas menu

What kind of Italian starters are trendy at Holiday Season?

Let's start from the most classic Christmas appetizer, Russian salad here in a light version to end with a series of delicious canapés.
Do not forget to take a look at our salt cakes. They are always a great option served sliced. They may accompany a nice selection of cold cuts or smoked fish or a seafood soup.
Keep in mind the variety of exclusive finger food to combine with famous cocktails. Serve them waiting to start your lunch or dinner.

Starter recipe ideas for Christmas and New Year menus

Assorted fish antipasto platter

Fish platter to start a typical Italian menu

Polenta slices topped with anchovies in oil, salt cod sauce and prawns. All these tidbits are combined with swordfish carpaccio and salmon. What about it?

Anchovies in green sauce

anchovies in green sauce

If you like anchovies, choose this recipe for your celebration menus. But you have to find very fresh anchovies.
Combine them with other seafood dishes but do not exceed with raw fish. It is not said that everyone likes it.

Typical antipasto of Umbria

Umbrian antipasto

Do you like rustic menus? You can find in the same platter: assorted salami and cheeses, a little frittata made with black truffles, some croutons. Choose good quality-ingredients.

Turkey aspic recipe

Turkey aspic recipe

This is a recipe of mine. It is very good, really! And you can prepare it in advance, very important thing when you have guests. It is a light dish you can combine with cold cuts too.

Conzo salt cod

boiled and dressed salt cod

This is the Venetian name for salt cod, boiled in court-bouillon and dressed in a light way. My husband and I like it very much. It is delicate but tasty, so you can combine it with a lot of other appetizers for a fish-only menu.

Salt puffs with pecorino cheese

They are perfect to accompany assorted salami, smoked sliced fish or salmon carpaccio. It's a Roman recipe.

Salt garnished biscuits

I have prepared them the first time when I helped a couple of friends to set up their wedding buffet. They were very successful. The only problem is that you have to decorate them just before serving. Now they are a must at my home even at Christmas, every time I have to prepare finger food.

Baked scallops

Baked scallops

Fish, molluscs and crustaceans are a really tradition in the south of Italy especially for Xmas Eve dinner. Here's an example!

Baked scallops with dried fruit

baked scalops with dried fruit

Have you ever tested scallops with dried apricots? they are ideal to be cooked together with fruit. It is one of my best recipe, according to the Italian tradition which dates back to the Renaissance.

Salmon carpaccio

salmon carpaccio in a white serving platter

It is always trendy. It was served to me in a lot of restaurants in many ways. Be careful: salmon must be very fresh!

Orange-flavored prawns

orange flavored prawns

Prawns are delicious cooked in citrus juice. The recipe is quick and easy. When you plan a lunch or a fish-only dinner with several courses and for many people, it is always a good choice.

Umbrian croutons, Spoleto-style

Christmas may be the right time to taste black truffle and make delicious croutons. These are really good. Follow my instructions. Having lived many years in Umbria, I learned to do them very well ;)

Tuscan croutons

Tuscan croutons

They are perfect to accompany assorted salami, especially game salami. Do you know them?

Mushroom croutons

If the mushrooms are scented porcini (Boletus species) in olive oil, these croutons are a real treat. They can be served especially with cold cuts but are also good with smoked fish such as salmon, tuna or smoked fish.

Croutons topped with seafood salad

fish croutons

They can be done in many different versions. This one is very simple. In reality it is a way to serve the classic seafood salad. You can do or buy it ready made but in any way, enjoyed on toasted bread, it has a completely different flavor.

Polenta slices topped with shrimps

Polenta slices topped with prawns

Polenta slices are garnished with shrimps and bitter-sweet bell peppers. They taste fantastic! This is a recipe of mine invented for a get-together with fish lovers on Holiday Season.

Polenta slices topped with black truffle and quail eggs

Polenta slices topped with black truffle and quail eggs

I think that my recipe is really very good and looks fine too. Quail eggs and truffle are two special ingredients. What do you think about?

Orange salad

orange salad

The orange salad is a great choice to accompany salami rich in fat, an assortment of smoked fish or even pate dishes. It goes well with each of these flavors and has the advantage of breaking too strong flavors which could cancel the taste of other courses.

Prawn and truffle salad

Prawn and truffle salad

The combination of truffle and shrimp is simply extraordinary.
My recipe is easy to do but delicious. Serve it with grilled scallops, even those ones with dried fruit in the previous box. Another good pairing is fish slices in brine or smoked (tuna, sword fish, salmon). It is also tasty served with other appetizers in an assorted antipasto platter.

Seafood salad

seafood salad

This is my version of seafood salad created for a fish-only Christmas dinner and dedicated to my greedy friends.

Veal shank salad

veal shank salad

Typically you can purchase it already made ​​in Italy but to prepare it at home makes you surely rediscover old tastes. And for those who love it, it's a real treat.

Russian salad

Russian salad

My version is quick and simple to do. In fact I use canned diced vegetables. Sometimes I "enjoy" to dice fresh vegetables. It takes a lot of patience but the result is better. In addition to serve it as an appetizer, try it as a side dish to your pot-roast.

Cauliflower mini flan

Cauliflower mini flan

This dish is very versatile. It is perfect to be served either as a side dish for recipes with meat or fish without sauces or as an appetizer. It is simple to do  and requires few ingredients. The color is due to the tomato paste. However, pay attention to pairings: the cauliflower is not always well digestible.

Cotto ham mousse

Cotto ham mousse

You need few ingredients for this recipe. I use only ricotta, cream and marsala liqueur. Success is assured, at least to hear my guests ;))

Olives, Mediterranean-style

May olives be missing on your Christmas table? Big, black and green. Seasoned with paprika, onions, garlic and oregano or as in the next recipe.

Puff pastry appetizers filled with anchovies

Puff pastry appetizers filled with anchovies

If you need to prepare a fish-only dinner party and do not have much time, this recipe is for you. Buy ready to bake puff pastry and anchovies. In a short time, you will have tasty appetizers that can enrich an assorted appetizer platter or that you can serve in your happy hour (Italian aperitivo).

Puff pastry appetizers filled with baby octopus

Puff pastry appetizers filled with baby octopus

These appetizers are very tasty and perfect for your fish-only menus in Holiday Season and all your special events.

Spicy olives

Spicy olives

These black and green olives are seasoned with typical Mediterranean ingredients (onion, garlic, olive oil and oregano) and with the addition of hot pepper and a few drops of vinegar that is the difference with the previous version.

Raw oysters

Raw oysters

The oysters in this recipe should be served on a layer of ice. Accompany them with slices of lemon and freshly ground pepper. Everyone will season them according to his taste.

Fried oysters

Fried oysters

These oysters must be cooked just before serving. So if you have many guests, you need help in the kitchen to enjoy you too the special moment.

Salt cake stuffed with rabbit and truffle-flavored chocolate

Salt cake stuffed with rabbit and truffle-flavored chocolate

Rabbit and truffle-flavored white chocolate. These are the main ingredients in the filling. A fantastic savory cake that my husband and I dedicated to a foodie friend of us. Special dish for Christmas.

Veal pate

The recipe for veal pate is a bit long but it is definitely worth it if you love this kind of dish. Traditional recipe in the morthern Italy.

Carpione fish

Carpione fish

This is another classic Italian starter that we Italians prepare all year round and particularly for Holiday Season.
Fish is fried and marinated. Easy to do. Ideal to accompany other assorted seafood appetizers.

Salami & Co.

salami served with dried and fresh fruit

Some ideas to serve assorted salami with fresh or dried fruit. A must in Italy!

Stewed clams

This recipe is very easy. This is the reason why it is ideal in this period when you have a lot to cook for many guests ;) You can serve this clam dish in individual bowls as a hot appetizer.

Tuscan kale salt cake

Tuscan kale salt cake

Vegetarian Christmas recipe. Have you ever tested Tuscan kale combined with chestnuts? It is delicious.

Spinach and ricotta flans

Spinach and ricotta flans

In reality these mini flans were born in my kitchen with different aims but then I have often prepared them to accompany baked salmon, red wine-flavored salmon, pot-roast beef ...

Wild boar salami and pate on canapes

Do you know TUC or Ritz? they are special to make canapes. Try these ones ;))

Delicate canapes

delicate canapes

Seafood sticks, shrimp and kiwi fruit. Few ingredients for these canapes, quick to do but very good. The fruit combined with other ingredients makes this kind of appetizers less tasty. That's important, so the following courses can be enjoyed better.

Salt cakes

We have a directory dedicated non only to salt cakes but to savory tarts and pies too. They are ideal, served sliced, to accompany assorted salami, smoked fish carpaccio and so on.

Meat and vegetable pie

meat and vegetable pie

There are three kinds of meat in its filling but the vegetables I used are not seasonal. I have not followed my main aim but for once ... A recipe of mine!

Veal with tuna sauce

Veal with tuna sauce

This is the typical starter in Italy, especially in the north for Holiday Season. This is the authentic recipe my grandmother was used to do. Fantastic!

Clam chowder

Clam chowder

This dish requires very few ingredients. You can serve it warm as starter in a seafood menu even after a first platter made with cold fish appetizers.