In Italy it is regarded as essential to eat something if you are drinking. Only a reckless madman (or uncouth foreigner) would ever consider not doing so. Struzzichini are little snacks to go with your drink. It might be something as simple as a bowl of peanuts or something more elaborate, like the following dish. In Lombardy the bars compete to provide the best selection. There is one bar I used to go to in Bergamo that served such a large variety that I very rarely had any appetite for a meal after my apperitivo. If you are using tomatoes preserved in oil, you of course don’t need to soak them. It’s worth doing with the dry variety though if you can find them.
- Sun dried tomatoes – soaked for an hour in a mixture of water and vinegar
- Olives – stoned and cut into slivers
- Capers – soaked for a few minutes and drained
- Fresh basil leaves
- Anchovy fillets
- Olive oil
- Drain the tomatoes and dress with olive oil.
- On top of each tomato place 2 capers, a piece of anchovy, a sliver of olive and basil leaf.
- Roll up and secure with a tooth pick.