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Jun 7, 2011 09:58 PM

Small Plate Dinner Party Menu?

I'm having a dinner party at the end of June and need some ideas for my menu. We don't want a sit down menu, more small plates/finger foods that people can hold while they mingle. We were thinking for dessert to do grilled pound cake with berries, and we were also thinking of something like antipasto and/or bruschetta. We also thought about doing food truck style tacos, but that was before we thought of bruschetta and antipasto.

So if anyone could throw out some ideas it would be much appreciated. It's basically a blank slate so we are open to anything.

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  1. I really like interesting 'sliders' on King's Hawaiian mini buns. Pulled pork, brisket, tri tip, grilled ahi... You can made a DIY bar with a few meat and condiment choices and toppings. Two or three bites and they are gone...

    I have also been doing ceviche at home a fair bit recently. Good fish, lime, onions, shallots, peppers, and salt. Serve it with pita chips and avocado. It is easy and refreshing.

    1. fwiw,
      my preference for such parties is finger food that DOESN'T drip.
      this means no stuff with drippy sauces or dressing.

      1. I do these types of parties all the time and have found that the best way to be a successful host is to simplify. I try to limit myself to 3 cold and 3 hot platters (plus a cheese plate) with items that can be quickly replenished to keep you mingling. So you could pre-make some mint and peas arancini or stromboli with burrata and salume, and hold them in the oven. Cold appetizers like prosciutto-wrapped asparagus or tuna tartare on wonton chips could be assembled quickly when plates are running low. If you want to do the tacos, thin slices of carne enchilada will cook the fastest. You can also pre-cook chorizo and microwave it as needed.

        1. What about a tapas menu? You don't say for how many, but for instance you can put out roasted almonds, warm marinated olives & a selection of pinchos, which are small cubes of food that are assembled quickly on fancy toothpicks. Some examples of pinchos would be a pitted black olive, cube of cheese & piece of roasted red pepper; smoked oyster or mussel, roasted red pepper & cherry tomato; chunk of ham, cube of cheese & sweet pickle; chorizo sausage slice,cube of cheese & pepperoncini. I would look for serrano ham, spanish chorizo & manchego cheese, but you can be really creative here.

          Then you can round out the menu with other tapas like stuffed peppers (the small red ones, piquillo), lamb meatballs in romesco sauce, sherried chicken wings, spicy baked potato wedges, mixed grilled vegetable salad. You can toast baguette bread slices, rub with cut garlic and serve with everything. Start the whole party with a pitcher of mojitos or Sangria and end with rice puddings, flans or almond cookies and a nice bottle of Port or sherry and you are all set.

          1. i recently did an around-the-world theme party of plates; some stuff i included:

            -roasted chickpeas in a few flavors - instead of nuts
            -tiny quesaditas - couple of bites each with different fillings - one traditional cheddar/jack combo, then wild mushrooms, gruyere; etc
            -toasted ravioli
            -greek salad skewers - essentially tomato, cucumber, red onion, feta (tiny pieces on a skewer) marinated in a greek style dressing (no drips)
            -chicken satay
            -goat cheese souffle bites with a piped roasted beet puree
            -salmon croutons with a whipped creamy cauliflower puree piped on top with a drizzle of a creamy herbed lemon sauce
            -broccoli pie bites
            -stuffed new potatoes
            -apple streusel pie bites
            -creme caramel bites
            -brownie bites

            you can certainly just pare down to a few... or get them involved...