Appetizers serve two important roles: They whet one’s appetite and set the tone for the meal that follows. A stylish sit-down dinner calls for elegant appetizers that look and taste special, while dips and chips are perfect for a backyard barbecue. At a cocktail party, on the other hand, the hors d’oeuvres are the meal, so you’ll
need to offer a tempting selection. But some of our favorite appetizers are simply snacks, nibbles, and
munchies that are meant to be served without ceremony and simply enjoyed.
How To Manage The Menu
• Prepare appetizers in advance whenever possible.
• Serve only one or two appetizers that require lastminute attention.
• For appetizers that require last-minute assembling, prepare the separate components ahead of time and
chill until serving time.
• Plan on only one or two hot appetizers unless you have more than one oven.
• Be sure to serve some appetizers that are work-free, such as nuts or cheese.
• Figure on about ten to twelve appetizers per person if no meal follows. Otherwise, allow five or six pieces.
Do - Ahead Strategies
Vegetables for crudités can be prepared up to one day ahead. Wrap radishes, cherry tomatoes, cucumber,
and celery in damp paper towels and refrigerate in plastic bags. Cut up asparagus, broccoli, green beans, and
cauliflower and boil until tender-crisp. Drain, rinse under cold water, and pat dry. Refrigerate as above.
Dips and spreads can often be made up to several days ahead and refrigerated.
Pâtés and terrines taste best if made one to two days ahead. Meat pâtés can be frozen for up to two
months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator.
Pastry appetizers can be frozen, raw or baked, for
up to one month. Layer them in baking pans, separating the layers with waxed paper, then double wrap in
foil. Arrange baked pastries on cookie sheets and reheat at 350°F for about 10 minutes. Bake frozen raw pastries
as the recipe directs, allowing extra baking time.
Tea sandwiches make excellent appetizers. Make them up to four hours ahead and arrange in jelly-roll pans. Separate the layers with damp paper towels, cover securely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
Tips For Serving With Style
Be thoughtful. Appetizers should be easy to handle without being messy, easy to eat without utensils,
and require no more than a couple of bites.
Make it pretty. Arrange cut-up vegetables on a tray or in a large basket lined with plastic wrap and
covered with leafy salad greens.
Be creative. Serve dips and spreads in hollowedout loaves of bread or cabbages.
Be dramatic. Add height by placing platters on inverted baking dishes covered with colored napkins.
Make it flavorful. Remove cold appetizers from the refrigerator about thirty minutes before serving.
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