Market Staples to the Rescue
Drizzle store-bought roasted red peppers with olive oil and sherry vinegar and serve on toasted baguette rounds. (Photo by Anthony Tieuli, styling by Erika Bruce)
Though there is nothing like your own creation, in a pinch, the deli section of your supermarket can provide a base for several easy and impressive appetizers. Just add a couple of homemade touches to make them your own.
Marinated Roasted Red Peppers Drizzle the peppers with good olive oil, sherry vinegar, and chopped fresh parsley and serve on toasted baguette rounds.
Spanish Antipasto Plate Apply the same concept of the Italian antipasto to Spanish specialties. On a large platter, set out some jarred white asparagus, roasted piquillo peppers, a wedge of Manchego cheese, and thin pieces of jamon Serrano and chorizo and drizzle with a little olive oil.
Warm Mixed Nuts Turn your favorite nuts into a hot-and-sweet bowl of nibbles. Just toss almonds, cashews, or peanuts with brown sugar, chopped fresh rosemary, salt, chili powder, and a touch of chipotle powder or cayenne pepper and roast in a moderate oven, tossing occasionally, until browned. Serve warm.
Smoked Salmon Platter Add some lemon wedges (for squeezing), capers, whipped cream cheese, a black-pepper mill, and melba toasts to the platter and allow guests to help themselves.
Baked Pitas Top a large pita with prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, and fontina cheese and bake in a 500-degree oven until the cheese just melts. Cut into wedges and serve.
Warm Goat Cheese Roll a log of goat cheese in chopped sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, and chopped fresh rosemary. Bake until warm and serve with pita chips. Or spread goat cheese on crackers and top with a dollop of hot-pepper jelly and chopped fresh thyme.
Spicy Roast Beef Pinwheels Mix creme fraiche (or sour cream) with prepared horseradish, spread over lavash bread. Layer with roast beef and arugula, roll it up, and cut into rounds.