Antipasto salad typically consists of lettuce greens, cured meats, marinated vegetables, olives and peppers along with cheeses such as provolone, fresh mozzarella or Parmesan. This salad can be dressed with a vinaigrette and fresh herbs to create a traditional Italian dish.
In Italy, antipasto is a starter dish. It does not have to be in salad form, as it can also be arrayed on platters and served with bread. This dish can be completely suited to personal tastes. As a salad, it can be served with crisp iceberg just as easily as spicy salad greens. Smoked and salt-cured meats such as ham, salami, prosciutto and coppa are popular choices. It is also a nice touch to prepare or provide high-quality marinated vegetables when possible rather than canned varieties.
The role of antipasto in Italian food culture is to extend the meal. As such, it is intended to be an appetizer, but one that is served seated rather than standing. The cultural norm with antipasto and related dishes, such as caprese skewers, is to enjoy the food and company slowly. Antipasto salad is usually a big hit with most diners and is relatively simple to make, since most of the ingredients are prepared before purchase.