For a larger group, create this Christmas tree antipasto. Arrange the ingredients in a triangle, like a tree (both photos © DeLallo).
 Smaller, for just a few people. DeLallo has selected among its Colossal Calamata Olives, Garlic Herb Stuffed Pepperazzi, Garlic Stuffed Olives, Lemon Feta Antipasti, Red Pepperazzi Peppers, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Stuffed Grape Leaves and Marinated Artichokes. All are available online.
We love the munchies that are served with cocktails before dinner. We could make a meal of them!
For the Christmas season, DeLallo suggests a self-serve antipasto, and has created two variations, for groups large and small.
Thes eye-catching platters in the photos are as fun to nibble as they are to create.
WHAT YOU NEED
Be sure to use festive colors to give your platter a holiday feel.
We like as much red and green as possible.
The “evergreen” is made with rosemary sprigs. See below for how to freeze leftover rosemary.
Of course, you don’t need all of these. Sketch out your tree on paper, designating which food goes in each row. Everything should be bite-size.
Bocconcini (bite-size mozzarella balls)
Cheese cubes: a semi-hard variety such as Pepperjack, plain or flavored Cheddar*, or numerous others†
Charcuterie: cubes of ham, pâté and salami; slices of sausage
Olives (we like red Cerignola and bright green Castelvetrano)
Marinated artichoke hearts
Pickled vegetables (tangy cornichons and sweet gherkins are great for the base of the tree)
Roasted red peppers (pimento)
Stuffed grape leaves
Rosemary sprigs for the “evergreen‡.”
A side basket of baguette slices, breadsticks and/or crackers.
Small plates, cocktail napkins, cocktail picks or toothpicks.
Mustard for the meats, or other condiments as indicated.
Begin your assembly by arranging the rosemary sprigs in the outline of the tree, as in the photos.
TIPS FROM DELALLO
Balance: Balance the flavors so that there’s something for everyone. For example, spicy flavors need a mild counterpoint.
Heat: Unless your group likes hot food, avoid super-pungent and fiery flavors.
Artful: Keep color in mind. The more colorful (red and green), the better.
Drain: Be sure to drain or remove the excess oil from artichokes, olives, etc.
Wrap: Wrap the cheese cubes tightly until they are served, or they’ll begin to dry out.
HOW TO FREEZE ROSEMARY
In addition to preserving the extra rosemary, you can recycle the sprigs from the platter. Simply rinse, pat dry, allow to air-dry (to avoid ice crystals from the water)and follow these same instructions.
First, place the rosemary sprigs in the freezer for 2 hours, or until frozen solid.
Next, transfer the frozen sprigs to a freezer bag.
The frozen leaves will easily come off the stem when you need them for a recipe.
You can do the same with fresh thyme.
*Cabot Cheese makes flavored Cheddars in Cracked Peppercorn, Everything Bagel, Garlic & Dill, Habanero, Horseradish, Hot Buffalo Wing, Smoky Bacon, Spicy Jack and Tuscan.
†Popular semi-hard cheeses include Blue di Bufala, Gouda, Gruyere, Provolone. For goat cheese lovers: Cabra Romero, Drunken Goat. For sheep cheese lovers: Melange Brebis, Tomette Brebis. The cheese counter staff can recommend other varieties.
‡ Using real evergreen branches is not advised. Not only are the leaves toxic if consumed, but the aroma will overpower the scent of the foods.
The post TIP OF THE DAY: Christmas Antipasto first appeared on THE NIBBLE Blog – Adventures In The World Of Fine Food.
THE NIBBLE Blog – Adventures In The World Of Fine Food