I love the picky foods at parties more than the meal itself! I can’t help it. Those little bites with a glass of wine or a special drink just get me in the mood to mingle and catch up. I’ve done many variations of an antipasto tray but I think this one for my Christmas Day dinner was my favorite so far.
I always include at least two or three cheeses (a blue cheese or brie, a goat cheese and an aged Gouda), nuts, something pickled (veggies or olives), cured meat like salami and crackers. There are just so many options and you can simply open jars and unwrap cheeses or you can get fancier and make some of the options on the tray. Either way an antipasto tray never disappoints.
On this tray:
Stilton with cranberries
goat cheese with fig
rosemary Parmesan crisps
steamed asparagus wrapped in peppered salami
peppadew peppers stuffed with buttermilk blue cheese
sweet and spicy walnuts
To make the Steamed Asparagus Wrapped in Peppered Salami:
Rinse and trim the asparagus. Bend a piece of asparagus and it will break naturally, usually about 1 to 2 inches before the end. Measure up the rest and cut them all at the same spot with a sharp knife.
In the meantime set a steamer basket on a pot of boiling water. Place the trimmed asparagus in the basket and steam until fork tender, about two or three minutes. I like a snap to my asparagus.
Wrap each piece in a slice of peppered salami. I steam the asparagus a day ahead and keep it in a zip lock bag.
To make the Sweet and Spicy Walnuts:
1/4 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp cayenne (more if you like it hot)
10 – 12 oz nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds)
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix together the sugar and salt.
Heat the honey with the cayenne until the honey is really runny. (You can do this in a pot on the stove or in the microwave.)
Toss the nuts in the honey and stir to coat all of the nuts.
Place in one layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
Cool for 5 minutes then sprinkle with the sugar. Cool completely.
Store in an air tight container.
Happy New Year! Happy Partying!