Ranch dressing and wine? No. Instead pair olive oil with Chianti

Pinzimonio--raw vegetables to dip in extra-virgin olive oil--makes an easy summer appetizer.
(S. Irene Virbila / Los Angeles Times)

We’ve all been to catered events where the main finger food is a big bowl of chilled broccoli and cauliflower florets meant to dip in a bowl of ranch dressing or cheesy dip. It’s not all that wine-friendly, really. That dressing can kill the wine, not to mention the vegetal taste of the raw broccoli especially.

If you love good olive oil, pinzimonio is the way to go. It’s an Italian antipasti of raw vegetables to dip in peppery extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Tuscan. Sometimes, it’s just raw carrots and celery stuck in a jar. More often, it’s those gorgeous baby purple artichokes so tender they can be eaten raw. And when you get lucky, it can be a beautifully assembled platter of all sorts of vegetables.

Lay out your stash of vegetables from your garden or the farmers market, put them into strips and arrange them on a platter. Serve chilled, with little bowls of extra virgin olive oil, and put out Maldon salt and a pepper grinder.


Enjoy with a glass of Chianti Rufina (from the northeastern zone of Chianti, generally less expensive than the better known Chianti Classico). I like Selvapiana‘s 2010, the current vintage. Dry, earthy, with a hint of cherry, it’s a lighthearted red and perfect summer drinking with pinzimonio and that peppery hit of olive oil.


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