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Spreads for sandwiches/antipasto tray

I'm catering a family party next weekend. The plan is to make a few roasts (1/2 turkey, beef, and probably a boneless shoulder), slice and lay them out cold, fill a big basket with bread and rolls, and let people make their own sandwiches. I'll also make up a fruit tray, antipasto tray, a cheese tray, green salad, and of course dessert. The plan is to go with a vaguely Mediterranean feel, emphasizing fresh figs, melon and grapes on the fruit tray and so forth. I'm looking for some spreads to put out to snazz up the sandwich options a little. I intend to offer the basics, because some people will definitely be looking for mustard and mayo and I can't stop them. But I was going to offer a fig and caramelized onion spread and an olive tapenade. Does anyone have any suggestions for other interesting spreads that would suit? Also, any suggestions for the antipasto tray? I'll have a few types of olives, some roasted peppers and plum tomatoes, marinated mushrooms, and anything that looks interesting at the local Italian shop, but if anyone has any good ideas, I would be grateful. Make-ahead preferred. Thanks.

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  1. Marinated artichokes are always good. Also, mango chutney makes a good sandwich spread if you thin it out a little

    1. I love pesto on my sandwiches, and that would definitely be a good addition. If you want something different, you might want to try an arugula pesto instead of basil.

      1. A roasted garlic or Moroccan preserved lemon aioli might be a nice substitute for (or addition to) mayo. Also consider making some kind of boursin-type spread with feta, creme fraiche and fresh herbs.

        Cold sliced grilled eggplant would be nice on the antipasto tray and, along with your roasted peppers, would be a great addition to the sandwiches.

        Sounds delish!

        1. I make a Romesco sauce that always goes over big at parties. I use bottled roasted peppers from Trader Joe's, rinsed, toasted almonds, garlic, slice of toasted bread, sherry vinegar and olive oil. It's so easy and quick, goes great with pita chips or chilled shrimp, and is very popular. Let me know if you need exact(ish) amounts.
          I think the grilled eggplant for the tray is a great idea! Sprinkled with goat cheese and basil would be delicious.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JessWil

            I was just going to suggest a romesco sauce. I use a recipe that I got on chowhound. Just careful with the garlic--it's raw so it can be potent.

          2. I like muhamarra as a dip and spread, and it works with the mediterranean idea. I love the little fresh mozzarella balls on an antipasti plate (and could probably be picked up easily at an Italian market).

            On a side note, wanted to tell you that I made a banana bundt cake from this board, and added dried dates on the basis of your rec from your banana bread recipe. Never would have done it otherwise. Wow. Dates are the fruit of choice for a banana bread. (I gave you credit in my report back to the board, but wanted to be sure you knew!).

            1 Reply
            1. re: Smokey

              Hi, Smokey - glad to hear you enjoyed the dates in banaa bread. My favorite. I'll look into the muhamarra, that might work out well.

            2. Crostini or bruschetta painted w/olive oil & toasted on the grill. Favorite toppings of my friends are: Tuscan chix liver pate, roasted garlic, roasted tomatoes, duxelles, shrimp-all w/their complimentary fresh herbs, cheeses, fresh ground pepper, etc.

              1. I've made this artichoke olive dip several times, which people always like.


                I've been lazy and made it with already chopped canned black olives (I like the colour contrast), and it's turned out great. It'd work as a spread too. Make a lot - it's addictive and goes fast!

                1. have you considered making your own mustard? Everyone can whip up homemade mayo/aoli, but mustard is often overlooked. I got sick of paying $6-$9 for tiny jars of "gourmet" mustards, so I started making my own - I make a mean mango-margharita mustard

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Biggie

                    Where were you when someone was looking for mustard recipes and tips a while back?! :-)

                    Care to share your "Mean Mr. Mustard" recipe?!

                  2. Another item I made recently is the brochettes with melon, proscuitto, and fresh mozz from Epicurious. Really basic and easy and I'm sure millions of variations on the theme are possible, but easy "tray" food.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: JessWil

                      I've made these before--very good.

                    2. I don't really have a recipe, I just mix stuff togethe until it tastes good :-)

                      I make a standard mustard base water, vinegar, salt, mustard seed - I replace half the vinegar normally used with lime juice, and some of the water with tequila and triple sec. I mush-up some mango and stir it in. Easy and tastes great, especially if you're a little adventurous and add some habanero.

                      1. A small offering. Pepperocini. Oh by the way, you can probably get the little mozzerella balls and an olive tapenade at Costco.

                        Oh yeah. A horse radish spread for roast beef sandwiches.

                        1. Hearts of palm for the antipasto tray, that's usually the only thing I usually have that I didn't see on the list.

                          Also for a spread/dip, a friend of mine did a great twist on a traditional hummus with the addition of a bunch of cilantro. Made it a moderately startling green, but it was addictive.

                          1. trader joes has a good spicey red pepper spread that would be good ... but i like the artichokes and the pesto as well.... there is also a good spicey humms at TJ's as well