I don’t know if I’m turning into a lazy cook or I’m just getting older, but lately I’ve adopted Ina Garten’s super casual entertaining style for appetizers. Why make something complicated when you can have something just as delicious that’s wildly easy and totally store bought? Here, I breakdown three easy appetizer plates that I served at recent dinner parties.
When I assembled this spread, I did it very quickly. Some friends called and said there were in the neighborhood. Could they stop by? They were ten minutes away! That left very little time to put together an appetizer. Luckily I had the cheese, olives, and prosciutto on hand and had just picked up a new basket of figs. The only thing I had to do was slice the figs and plate everything else.
Meat-Centric Salami and Cheese Spread
– Sliced pepper-crusted salami
– Spicy red wine-infused salami
– Store bought pate
– St. Agar Blue (a creamy French cheese) and Comte (France’s version of gruyere, a hard nutty cheese)
– Roasted salted peanuts
This salami plate was a part of my Traveler’s Tales pop-up dinner menu. The food was French-inspired with a main course of roasted fish with tapenade and tomatoes along side lentils with walnuts. Since the entree was on the lighter side, I decided to serve an assortment of charcuterie to start with sparkling Cremant. I selected two types of salami, one that was already cut and another that guests could slice themselves. From there, I threw in two cheeses: one creamy and blue and the other hard and nutty, toasted baguette slices, peanuts, and olives. The only cooking I had to do was toast the bread. In the words of the Barefoot Contessa herself, how easy is that?
Putting together a platter like this Italian antipasto one is also a great way to use up leftover ingredients. I had all three cheeses on hand, but none was big enough to serve alone. Thus, I served all three. The pesto was leftover from the night before and to make the herbed ricotta all I did was stir in some chopped parsley and a couple spoonfuls of the pesto. I picked the tomatoes and grapes fresh from the garden. The only thing I bought at the store was the baguette, which isn’t shown, and the prosciutto.