Even though I love tocook, I have never seem to have enough time to make everything I want to serveto my guests. I’ve learned over the years that what makes a party special isnot how much I cook, but how much everyone enjoys themselves at the table.
A simple antipasti caneasily turn into an abundant feast.
Here’s my cheat sheet ofwhat to serve to entertain artfully with ease:
1. Antipasti Olives: Servea mixture of Italian varietal olives right out of the jar,warm them in a saute pan with an orange peel and fresh fennel, or bake in the oven with a chunk of feta cheese,a drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon.
2.Cheese condiments servedwith a local or artisan cheese: Nothing could beeasier! Buy a wedge of cheese from your cheese shop ahead of time. Bringthe cheese to room temperature for best flavor then, just before serving, topwith a cheese condiment. One of the fan favorites is gorgonzolawith caramelized onions and golden raisins.
3. Salumi: La Querciaproduces an amazing American-made artisan proscuitto, already sliced and readyto serve. How easy is that? Serve slices neatly arranged on the plate, foldover slices of melon or wrap around grissini breadsticks.
4. Roasted Balsamic Peppers: You canserve these peppers whole on toasted crostini bread slices or with the salumias a condiment. Either way, its a colorful addition to your antipasti platter.
5. Italian flatbread: Delicatethin sheets of flatbreadare delicious brushed with olive and salt or slathered with a fresh arugulapesto. You can even make mini pizzette by topping the flatbread with freshlydressed arugula greens and freshly grated shards of Parmesan cheese.
6. Prosecco! No celebration iscomplete unless there is something festive and bubbly on the table. For anextra special touch, add a splash of campari or limoncello with a sprigof fresh herbs.
Now that you’ve gottenthe food ready, make your presentation as good as what’s on the plate.
7. Let the ingredients be the star of the show: I’m not much fordecorated plates, so it’s no wonder I love the simplicity of a goodwhite platter and other tabletop accessories that show off the food.
8. Less is more: Fewer things on the platter or plate inmore abundance makes for an eye-catching appearance on the table. Makeit easy on yourself, keep it simple.
9. Haveyour cocktails at the ready. Once the food is out, it’s time for youto relax and enjoy time with your guest. Have your cocktails chilled andglasses on a bar so guests can serve themselves when they arrive and throughoutthe party. All you have to do is refresh, as needed.
And, don’t forget to letgo and have some fun!
Buon appetito! copyright 2011 Alisa Barry