no cook appetizer needed
you could make some vietnamese salad rolls...they are usually made w/ pork/shrimp, but you could subsitute some ham, or barbecued pork...
here's a tutorial i found w/ pictures...
just remember that you can put virtually anything into a salad roll and it will taste pretty good as long as you include the basics: noodles, lettuce, fresh herbs, and some type of meat.
panzanella is good and easy and perfect now that spring is upon us.
like the caprese suggestion, make some pesto and either fill little cherry tomatoes w/ pesto, or skewer tomatoes and mozzarella cubes then drizzle with pesto
endive leaves spread with herbed cheese
chilled gazpacho type soup
artichoke and olive tapenade
in food processor pulse seperately
1 part marinated artichokes
2 parts pitted black olives
1 part green pimento stuffed olives
handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
pulse each thing seperately
chop parsley by hand
mix together in bowl with parsley
can also add small amount of capers and some lemon zest
(and if you really want add a teaspoon of fresh minced garlic and a pinch of hot pepper flakes)
can use stronger black olives but cut down on amount
play with proportions to taste.
mound on plate and surround with crackers, cucumber rounds, sliced bread, pita, celery sticks, carrot sticks, etc
Cherry tomato BLT
buy large not teardrop cherry tomatoes, cut off top "hat" to be able to use either a melon baller or grapefruit spoon to hollow out tomato to make cup.
reserve inside for another use - or throw into your salad
place cherry tomatoes upside down on paper towel to drain
freeze package of bacon and cut into small dice
cook until crisp and discard fat
mix with finely chopped scallions and just enough mayo to bind mixture together
stuff into hollowed out cherry tomatoes.
cut cups from hot house cucumbers (the long seedless kind)
top with hummous, baba ganoush and or capanata
(can make or buy any of those spreads)
take a slice of roast beef (could use roast pork but not ham)
spread with hoisin sauce
lay out julienned carrots, enoki mushrooms & thin julienned slice of red pepper
roll up with veggies sticking oout of either end
make your favorite sandwich as a wrap and cut into thin pinwheels
wrap half slice of favorite salami - like geneoa or sopressata around a pitted stuffed olive
can secure with toothpick or just place seam down
those are a few ideas that use neither dairy or seafood
I was going to suggest a crab salad with fennel, but have just seen the no seafood reference! Smoked trout would make a nice alternative, with some watercress and apple and a nice dressing (creamy horseradish is best but no dairy either!). If you have asparagus in season already (then you're lucky - it's freezing here in London), then I'd go for that, wrapped in prosciutto rather than bacon.
If you have access to a Mexican market buy a papaya and ripen it in a brown paper bag. Scrub it down in the sink. Cut a long slice for each person. Leave a few black seeds on it to show what they're eating. Serve with wedges of fresh lime. There is no more sensuous fruit.
I love to have little mini caprese salads. Stick a grape tomato, basil leaf, and mozzarella ball on a toothpick - drizzle them with some good olive oil, you're done.
For the non dairy eaters, how about deviled eggs - a real classic, and one of my favorite things. I restaurant go to has a deviled egg of the day with different flavorings in the yolk mixture. The one with bacon and chives is delicious, but the basic simple one with just a little worstechire sauce is great too.
I just looked at the ny times post as i was writing this, and i feel like everything has been covered there!
How about prosciutto wrapped melon? That's a nice one for spring. Another suggestion is bacon wrapped asperagus which you can cook in the morning and serve at room temp. Spiced nuts, which can be made in advance in a skillet, might be nice, too. Finally, you could use endive slices and fill them with spinach dip, or just serve veggies and the dip. Cooks Illustrated has my favorite spinach dip recipe - it's so good and so easy!