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.
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