Christmas Tree Antipasto Salad
This cheery holiday salad is a fun (and delicious!) decorating idea for a party. A trio of lettuces create the evergreen tree, and items from the deli counter and salad bar become an edible garland.
Author: The Chef
Recipe type: Main dish
- 5 ounces baby arugula (about 8 cups)
- 5 ounces baby kale (about 8 cups)
- 2 Persian cucumbers, halved lengthwise and sliced into half moons
- 3 heads little gem lettuce, bases trimmed and leaves separated, or the inner leaves of Bibb lettuce
- ¼ pound thinly sliced Genoa salami
- Three ¼-inch-thick slices provolone (about 6 ounces)
- ¼ pound thinly sliced prosciutto
- 1 cup cheese-stuffed small sweet piquante peppers, such as peppadews
- ½ cup jarred small whole artichoke hearts (about 8)
- ½ cup green castelvetrano olives
- ½ cup kalamata olives
- ½ cup small whole pepperoncini
- 6 radishes, tops trimmed
- ¼ cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans
- One 4-ounce goat cheese log
- 8 ounces ciliegine mozzarella (small balls of mozzarella), halved
White Balsamic Vinaigrette:
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
- Combine the baby arugula and kale in a large bowl. Arrange the leaves on a very large platter or cutting board in a Christmas tree shape that measures 16 to 18 inches tall, reserving a handful of greens. The platter should be large enough to accommodate a star on top and a trunk on the bottom. Scatter half of the sliced cucumbers over the tree. Arrange a layer of little gem lettuce leaves to create 4 tiers on the tree; use the small inner leaves for the fourth layer at the top of the tree.
- Stack the sliced salami and cut out a large star using a 3½-inch star cutter; reserve the scraps. Using the same cutter, cut out 2 stars from 2 slices of the provolone; reserve the scraps. Make a layered meat-and-cheese stack starting with half the salami stars, topped with a provolone star, the rest of the salami, and the second provolone star. Place the star at the top of the tree.
- Cut out smaller stars from the provolone scraps and the remaining provolone slice using 1-inch and 1½-inch cutters. Roll up the salami scraps and prosciutto slices into flowers. Arrange the cheese stars, meat flowers, stuffed peppadews, artichoke hearts, both kinds of olives and pepperoncini on the lettuce to form a garland that zig-zags up the tree from the bottom right to the upper left.
- Using a bar citrus zester, zest a channel along the equator of each radish so it resembles a tree ornament. Halve each radish vertically and add the pieces to the garland. Scatter the remaining cucumber slices on the leafy parts of the tree and use the reserved greens to fill any gaps in the tree.
- Put the nuts on a small plate and roll the goat cheese in them to fully coat. Place the log at the bottom of the tree to form the trunk. Decorate the ground under the tree with the ciliegine mozzarella balls for snow.
- For the white balsamic vinaigrette: Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, ½ teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper in a small bowl until well combined. Serve on the side.