My family loves few things more than a fabulous cheese platter, but in recent years I’ve been kicking it up a notch and creating what I call “Board Meals,” meals that are basically antipasti platters or cheese and salami platters—on steroids. These are assemblies of snack-ey foods that together can qualify as a meal, or at the very least as super generous, bountiful appetizer platters for your family or even for company. When you’re trying to wedge in simple dinners in between the more elaborate get-togethers during the holidays, these platters just might save the day for you once or twice during the busiest time of the year. I know it will save my virtual cannoli on more than one occasion.
So, what comprises a board meal? What are you in the mood for? First, think about grazing food, food that is fun to dip in and out of, food that can be eaten with a fork, or maybe even just your hands; think crostini, cured meats, cheeses, fresh and dried fruits, nuts, various spreads from tapenade to jams to pestos to dips. Think about pickled vegetables and roasted peppers and pates and smoked fish and seafood purees. Think about savory crackers and slices of bread (fresh or toasted). Think about olives. Are you hungry yet? Do you see the pleasure in this kind of easy entertaining?
I’m in love with my trencher board, which I use over and over for these board meals. I also love this herringbone cutting board, and I also use all kinds of trays and platters. (A board meal doesn’t have to be on the board; I just like the name.)
This board features: sliced baguette, Garlic, Chives and Parsley Baguette Crisps, Piquillo and Artichoke Bruschetta Topping, Rose Wine Salami, Chianti Red Wine Salami, Fig jam, olives, sliced pears, Pecorino Romano Cheese, and a silky triple crème cheese.
This vintage green tray is filled with Lobster Pate, chunks of Smoked Salmon, slices of baguette, sliced Mandarin oranges, olives, Artichoke Bruschetta topping, Truffled Golden Whitefish Caviar (surprisingly inexpensive), and a semisoft cow and sheep’s milk cheese.
These are just a few ideas for ways in which you can combine your favorite nibbles in one place to make a showstopper of an appetizer platter. You are only limited by the size of your board—and your imagination!