This year to celebrate my birthday, I wanted to keep things simple and went to a favorite appetizer. Built out on a large wooden plank, it was impressive, beautiful, and served as a stunning centerpiece. In the past, I used to think antipasto was for the lazy host, but over the past year it has become one of my favorite things to eat. In our house we affectionately refer to it as “adult lunchables.” Filled with sweet and savory pairings, four cheeses, and hot protein options, it is impressive for a crowd and fills everyone up, just as a traditional plated meal would. Paired with a robust red table wine, chambray napkins, and gold flatware, it says effortless entertaining in the best of ways. (This was a gathering that took a total of 30 minutes cooking for five people, making it the shortest prep of any dinner party I’ve done to date.)
Keep reading for the full how-to after the jump!
Some of my favorite items to include:
Roasted red peppers
Pan seared chicken breast
Marinated artichoke hearts
Olive oil and balsamic dip
Sun dried tomatoes
Some of my favorite cheeses to include:
How to build your charcuterie platter:
Begin by thinking about scale and the amount of people you will be serving. In this case, I was feeding 5 people and it was our main entree. I thought a foot of food/topping on my serving board would be ample for each person (This would mirror the size of a round dinner plate.) Using a scrap piece of wood and a bit of spray paint, I made a 6 foot serving board to span my table. It makes for a stunning centerpiece and contrasts with the oak of my kitchen table. Placing the serving board on the table, I cut down a piece of parchment paper for the size of the board, keeping everything clean, easy to clean up, and food safe.
Next, start arranging your food on the board. I like to think in groups of color and movement as I place the food. Also, keep in mind, that cutting cheese might be the best solution so each guest has the same items in similar reach so you’re not passing toppings all night long. Slice baguettes into rounds at a 45 degree angle and place throughout the board. (Estimate one loaf of bread for every 2 people.) On the outer corners I arrange the bowls of olives, oil and balsamic dip, and artichoke hearts. As I’m lining the board, I keep an empty space for the warm items (chicken and roasted red peppers).
30 minutes prior to serving, I begin cooking chicken and roasting the red peppers in the oven. Keep seasonings simple, I use salt, pepper, and italian seasoning on the chicken. Meanwhile, the peppers get rubbed with spanish extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Once both of these items are cooked, slice into smaller strips and place on the platter. Add cheeses and you’re done!