I recently went to a good friend’s BBQ and I was assigned starters. I quite like that arrangement. Not putting all the pressure on the person whose house it is to do it all and everyone does a little bit and by our powers combined it all just gets done. Like Captain Planet and his Planeteers 🙂
So what to make, what to make? I decided to keep things easy and went with:
I had been at the hairdressers that afternoon and I had suspected I would be there a while (always seems to be so busy on Saturday afternoons so they whole cut and colour process can take forever) and that I would have limited time frame in the kitchen when I got home. So it was a race. Felt like one of the Masterchef challenges to get it all done! I quickly put some garlic in the garlic press and put it into a small jug with some olive oil and splashed it onto some thinly sliced baguette (I like to cut it on an angle for these) before popping the slices into a warm oven. Basically you just want the baguette to get crispy. Then you take it out of the oven so it can cool down.
While that is happening remove the skin of the rock melon and slice it into pieces and arrange on a plate/platter with thin slices of prosciutto. One option would be to cube the rock melon and place it with a piece of prosciutto onto a tooth pick. Makes for easy eating but if you are pressed for time, keep things rustic and take along the slices of rock melon and prosciutto and folks can sort themselves out 🙂
The final starter takes only a little longer and is one of my favourite recipes from the very talented Russell Blaikie’s cook book, Must Eat. You can either buy a jar of black olive tapenade or make your own. Making your own is as easy as blitzing up pitted black olives, a bunch of herbs, garlic and olive oil, along with salt and pepper. So with your tapenade at the ready, grate some gruyere. Not going to lie I had the hardest time finding gruyere! Went to about 5 supermarkets before I finally found the illusive block was chasing. The couple next to me must have thought I was very strange when I literally squealed with glee on picking up a block. So you grate your cheese and mix it with the tapenade. Then take your baguette and cut it into thin pieces. Then smush some of the tapenade and gruyere mix into the middle and drizzle the little sandwiches with olive oil. These then just need to be popped into an oven until they start to brown and the cheese melts.
So back to the first starter, now slice tomato into rings. I was lucky enough to find a wonderful tomato blend at the IGA local to where I work and so it was quite the rainbow affair. So take your crispy garlic baguette slice and smear it with goats cheese. Then top with three or four slices of different coloured tomato then sprinkle with diced chives and a little rock salt and black pepper. Looks all very pretty.
So these are the three I went with for this BBQ but another that came to mind was one my sister actually introduced me to.
Goats Cheese and Crispy Prosciutto on Melba Toast
So slice prosciutto into little squares and pan fry it to crispy goodness. Then take a melba toast and spread with some goats cheese then top with the crisp prosciutto. It’s a tasty combination – creamy, salty, crunchy – yum.
And one final one that I also enjoyed on Australia Day….
Baguette with blue cheese and fresh sliced fig.
Ooo just remembered I also gave this a while. The salty, creamy cheese and the sweetness from the fig worked really well. All the more so when you drizzle on a little honey. Another one for the list.
Would love to hear your go to starters, what’s on the menu when you are cooking?