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Entertaining

Have a Small Plates Party
March 31, 2012 • Posted by Jean at Delightful Repast

The small plates dining trend shows no signs of letting up. In fact, the 2012 post-Oscars Governors Ball was a small plates affair. Whether it’s because of the faster pace of life now—living in “small bites” or “sound bites”—or a more laid-back lifestyle, people seem to enjoy moving about sampling lots of things rather than being tied to a seat for a multi-course meal of full portions.

It’s definitely a good fit for those who like to “graze.” No matter how sophisticated the menu, enjoying small amounts of several dishes makes for a casual and convivial atmosphere. Sharing and mingling is encouraged, so each small plate should feature bite-size pieces that require nothing more than a small fork, if not just fingers.

Whether you go with small plates of one culture—tapas, mezze, antipasti, dim sum—or with a combination, aim for a variety of flavors, colors and textures. Tapenade is a flavorful and versatile Provencal dish.

Tapenade
Makes about 1 cup

1 1/2 cups pitted kalamata olives
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons shredded fresh basil leaves, more for garnish
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
2 anchovy fillets, rinsed

  1. With steel chopping blade in place, add ingredients to workbowl of food processor. Process, stopping as necessary to scrape down sides of bowl, until mixture is finely minced and forms a chunky paste, about 1 minute.
  2. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer mixture to small bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of tapenade and refrigerate for up to 3 days
  3. Fill endive leaves with tapenade or spread it on small toasts. Garnish and arrange on small plates.

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