5 min read

Appetising Antipasto - Issue #19

Appetising Antipasto - Issue #19
Easy antipasto platter arrangement.

Happy Thursday,

I can't believe how fast this year seems to be flying by! We're well into winter here in New Zealand and comfort food is definitely frequenting our family dinner table. Delicious casseroles with tender slow cooked meat and hearty pasta dishes jam packed with hidden vegetables - it doesn't get much better on a cold dark night.

Mid-winter Christmas is still a little while away, but if you're starting to look for some inspiration - cooking steak for a crowd is easier than you think. Read below to find out how I like to cook it. There's also a video with an easy 'date night' dinner idea which might give you some more ideas.

I hope you enjoy our antipasto platter video too - it's a fantastic (and easy) way to start a dinner party, or special occasion for that matter!

In this issue:

  • Fresh off the press - Master the art of Antipasto
  • Food presentation tip - Why Proportion is Important
  • It's easier than you think - How to Cook Steak for a Crowd

Fresh of the Press...(+ Recipes)

Our latest video - Master the art of Antipasto: Tips for creating a beautiful and delicious platter - has just been published.

I absolutely love the Italian tradition of starting a meal with an antipasto platter. Your guests can nibble away on delicious little morsels while the final touches are being done to the main meal.

One of the most important things to think about when arranging an antipasto platter is having a variety of ingredients. Try to have variety in colour, texture, taste, flavour and shape. These aspects are all so important to create an interesting and appealing platter.

In this video we also talk about other important platter arrangement principles, such as choosing a starting point, using odd numbers, fanning the ingredients etc.

I hope you enjoy this video and learn some basic platter arrangement ideas you can use when arranging any style of platter.

Antipasto Platter

Ingredients I used in the video:

  • Roasted red capsicums
  • Olives (Green, Black, Kalamata or stuffed olives or have a few varieties if you like)
  • Cheese selection (Maasdam, Brie and Blue)
  • Meat selection (Sliced ham, salami, prosciutto and biersticks)
  • Bread selection (Bread sticks, sliced sourdough bread, wafer crackers)
  • Red pepper spread
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Baby gherkins
  • Basil pesto
  • Pate
  • Garnish (I used fresh rosemary sprigs)

These are just a few different ideas, but the options are endless - pickled onions, chutneys, terrines etc

Tips for putting your platter together:

  • When assembling your ingredients, make sure you have as much variety as possible. Variety in colour, texture, shape, flavour.
  • Have all your ingredients out where you can see them.
  • Create a staring point on your plate or board. I started with some smaller bowls to put the wet ingredients into.
  • Remember, an odd number of items looks more pleasing to the eye.
  • Cut up the cheese if you don't plan on serving your platter with utensils.
  • When arranging the items, remember fanning or folding always looks better.
  • Make sure your 'stand out' ingredients aren't hidden, add them to the platter near the end.
  • Fill in any gaps with smaller ingredients.
  • Don't forget to finish off the platter by adding a herb garnish.
  • It's best to serve your platter at room temperature, so if you have had it in the fridge, make sure you take it out at least 30 minutes before you want to serve it.
Antipasto platter.

Food Presentation Tip - Why Proportion is Important

Proportion is super important when it comes to food presentation. It's all about making the dish look visually appealing and well-balanced. When the different elements on a plate are sized and arranged properly, it creates a nice harmony that makes the dish more enjoyable to look at and eat. It shows that the chef or cook put thought and care into how everything should come together.

One big reason why proportion matters is that it helps create a sense of balance. You don't want one thing to overwhelm everything else on the plate. Let's say you're serving a main dish with a bunch of sides - the proportion ensures that none of them 'steal' the spotlight or get overshadowed. Instead, they all work together to make the plate look more inviting.

Different sized entrée salad portions.

Another thing to consider is portion size. So often we put more on the plate just because we have it, but by getting the proportions right, the dish can look more appealing. Less is more as the saying goes. This is especially important in fancy restaurants where presentation is a big deal. When the portions are visually pleasing and well-balanced, it makes the meal seem more valuable and high-quality. It leaves a good impression and makes the dining experience even better!

So, paying attention to proportion in food presentation is all about creating a visually pleasing and well-balanced dish that looks delicious and leaves a positive impression on anyone who sees or eats it.

Ingredient Spotlight - How to Cook Steak for a Crowd

Have you ever wanted to cook steak for a crowd, but decide not to because it has to be cooked at the last minute and you haven't got enough pan space or BBQ space?

Fillet Mignon, bacon wrapped and ready to be seared.

Cooking steak for a crowd is one of the easiest things to do when you know how! The best way (in my opinion) is to pre-sear your steak and leave it sitting at room temperature and finish it in the oven once your guests have arrived. The cooking time varies depending on how long you have seared the steak for, how thick it is, and what your oven temperature is, but try it out - it is honestly much easier than you think.

For example, if I have a 180-200g fillet steak, seared for approximately 2-3minutes on each side, it will take around 20 minutes in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius to reach medium-rare. Of course you do need to keep an eye on it as the timing/temperature can vary a little, but doing it this way means you have the messy searing done ahead of time and all you need to do is finish it in the oven. Remember to let it rest for a few minutes before serving too.

Here's a link to a video with a simple steak and gratin potato plating idea. It also has some steak cooking tips to keep in mind so you will know exactly when it's ready.

Happy cooking,