Prosciutto and anything

Foodie-san took the summer off, having too much fun traveling to places like Spain, the Canadian Okanogan, the East Coast and Portland. And entertaining, which should be at least as fun for the hostess as it is for guests.

At our house, you just never know who is going to show up for evening cocktails, or how long they will stay. Clearly, the Spaniards figured it out hundreds of years ago with the concept of tapas. But I, myself, have become a master of the after-work cocktail-turned-dinner party, challenging my creativity and my cupboard to surprise and delight unexpected guests.

When looking at my cupboard, some people may say that I am over-prepared for any entertaining emergency. And it is, in fact, filled with truffled honey, fig jams, dried fruit, almonds, pasta and acres of canned tomatoes and different types of beans. But look at what you can make!

My rule of thumb is to start off with one-ingredient nosh, then go to two ingredient nosh, and then to something warm.

Round One
Just put out three bowls of different kinds of munchies (say smoked nuts, Japanese rice crackers, and olives) and ask your hubby to make cocktails. Make sure you have cute little cocktail napkins!

Round Two
While this is happening, start working on things that may require a little presentation, but has great visual appeal. To whit:

  • Drizzle a little truffled honey over little chunks of good Parmesan
  • Wrap a little prosciutto around a little bunch of asparagus, some arugula leaves, a fresh fig or anything else that strikes your fancy
  • Sliced avocado drizzled with good, thick balsamic, and a little garnish
  • Focaccia cut into 2”squares and topped with a little mayo, arugula and left over protein (like chicken or beef) from a prior dinner

Round Three

  • Mussels steamed in green curry paste, coconut milk, with a little fish sauce and 1T sugar thrown in. Spinach or chopped tomatoes thrown in at the last minute is always nice.
  • This takes a little advance prep time, but Truffled Deviled Eggs are always nice. Just mush the yolks with a little mayo and truffle oil. Sprinkle a little caviar or parsley on top.
  • Cold poached salmon filet with some sort of yummy sauce over it—like a combination of soy sauce and sesame oil, with chopped scallions sprinkled on top or a green goddess dressing.

This should feed more than enough for 10 or so guests, without exhausting yourself. If more than that are coming, I would suggest that you suggest potluck. We can all use a little help from our friends.