Prepare for the winter holidays with Williams-Sonoma Holiday Entertaining by Georgeanne Brennan, featuring recipes like Antipasto Platter (Three Variations); Leek Soup with Pancetta and Bread Crumbs; and Baked Ham with Spiced Cider Glaze.
A platter of Mediterranean-style savory bites partners well with predinner drinks at holiday gatherings. It is an easy option for cocktail parties, open houses, and lunch buffets, too, because most of the items are store-bought.
Start with a visit to a good deli or specialty-foods store to find ready-made items like olives; specialty nuts, such as Marcona almonds; artisanal cheeses, such as pecorino, Manchego, mozzarella, and fresh goat cheese; spreads, such as tapenade; and cured meats, including prosciutto, salami, mortadella, and coppa. Serve four to six items, and plan on 1 to 2 ounces (30 to 60 g) of each per guest. You can supplement these offerings with raw or roasted vegetables with a Mediterranean-style dipping sauce.
Choose an attractive tray, platter, or cutting board. Or, create a dramatic presentation using a long, narrow platter, a tiered charcuterie "tower," or several matching small plates, with a single antipasto on each. Arrange the food to create an unfussy, natural look, piling items casually and rolling or loosely folding sliced meats. Decorate with grape leaves, fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary, or thyme. Place small plates, decorative cocktail picks or salad forks, and cocktail napkins next to the antipasto assortment.
Serve a basket of thinly sliced baguette rounds, slices of coarse country bread, cubes of focaccia, or crackers. You can also set out bread sticks or cheese straws (page 94 of the book) in tall glasses. Sparkling wines such as Prosecco, cava, Champagne, and California sparkling wine are a perfect match for the salty, oily flavors of antipasti, as are whites such as Vernaccia, Soave, and Falanghina and light reds, including Lambrusco and Pinot Noir. Ice-cold beer and Italian aperitifs, such as Campari, are also good choices.
Serve with bread sticks, herbed crackers; Prosecco, Campari and soda
Serve with focaccia, baguette rounds; Sparkling wine, French Chardonnay
Serve with olive bread, grape focaccia; Albarino, cava, rose, sherry
This page created October 2007
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