Food platters are a convenient way to serve guests at a party where a sit-down meal would be too formal for the occasion or too overwhelming for the number of people in attendance. Popular food platters include; shrimp and cocktail sauce; mini-sandwiches or wraps; cheese, crackers and vegetables; cold cuts, cheese and fruit; and dessert platters, consisting of cookies, pastries, mini muffins and tiny cake slices. While these options are sure to be a hit for many guests, why not try something different for your next party?
Middle Eastern Platter
Give your guests a taste of the Middle East by serving a platter with pita bread wedges, harissa (spicy pepper dip), hummus, baba ganouj (eggplant dip), tahini (sesame seed) dip, stuffed grape leaves, mini lamb pastries and lamb or beef kabobs. To round out the platter, include cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, bell pepper strips, olives and spiced nut mixes. Many of these items can be bought already cut and prepared. However, if you have little experience with Middle Eastern cuisine, you may want to purchase a platter from a local restaurant or grocery store.
Sushi Roll Platter
If you're going to make your own sushi roll platter, give yourself plenty of time and consider enlisting the help of several other people, perhaps in a pre-party get-together. For the wrapper, use toasted nori (seaweed) sheets, and vary the fillings to create several different types of rolls. In addition to sticky rice, sushi roll fillings include avocado, scallion, baby shrimp, imitation crab, salmon, tuna steak, marinated tofu, mushrooms, sliced red bell pepper, julienned carrots, cucumber strips and sprouts. For greater variation, you may want to add spring rolls to your platter. Spring roll fillings are wrapped in moistened rice paper instead of seaweed, and the sticky rice is omitted. If making or buying this platter, don't forget to include a wide array of Asian-style dipping sauces. Dipping sauces are an easy way to dress up the simple ingredients that go into these rolls. They also allow guests to season their food as they wish. At the very least, you should provide wasabi paste and soy sauce.
Raw Food Platter
A raw food platter is a light, refreshing option for a hot summer day. Dips and pâtés made from nuts, avocado, olives or vegetables can provide a foundation for an attractive and elegant food spread. For vegetable pinwheels, slice a zucchini or cucumber ultra thin lengthwise. Spread with pâté or dip and roll up into individual servings. Dips and pâtés can also be scooped onto radicchio, romaine or lacinato kale leaves for a fresh alternative to sandwiches. Sliced cucumbers, carrots and radishes can be served alongside dips instead of crackers or bread. Sliced cheese, olives, fruit, nut mixes and iced herbal tea or lemonade would also go well with this platter.