Make-Ahead Appetizers for Every Summer Get-Together
'Tis the season for easy-breezy snacks you can assemble hours (or even days!) in advance.
Photo: Erin Kunkel/Weldon Owen
A Dish That Makes Us Want to Renew Our Vows with Bacon
Bacon and guacamole are two foods that tend to be instant crowd-pleasers—which is why this brilliant dip combining both is a shoo-in for any buffet table. The recipe also features roasted jalapeños, onions, garlic and tomatillos (the tomatillos give the spread an extra rich and smoky flavor and are generally in season from May to October). You can make the dip a few hours ahead of time and cover it with plastic wrap; be sure to press the plastic down onto the dip itself, so the wrap and the dip are touching, to prevent the guac from browning.
Get the recipe: Bacon-Guacamole Salsa Verde Dip
The Seafood Classic, Taco-Style
Shrimp-cocktail fans will find much to love in this refreshing appetizer, which also happens to go quite nicely with a cool glass of white wine. You start with bite-size pieces of precooked shrimp; and add chopped celery, scallions and parsley. Then, you pour a spicy dressing made from chili sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise, horseradish, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce over the shrimp and toss to combine. You can let the mixture sit in the fridge for up to two days
; just before serving, place about a half-cup of the shrimp into bibb or Boston lettuce leaves and let guests enjoy, taco-style.
Get the recipe: Shrimp Lettuce Wraps
The New Spin on a Movie-Night Favorite
Popcorn may be known for its affinity to soda and Junior Mints, but its crunch also makes it a good match for a happy-hour cheese platter. And to make things more interesting—but still keep the snack feeling fun and laid-back—try combining a caramel corn (the sweet caramel brings out the natural sugars in the cheese) with herbes de Provence, a blend of herbs that comes from southern France. You can make this unique snack up to a month in advance.
Get the recipe: Herbes de Provence Caramel Corn
Photo: Georgia Glynn Smith
A Tried and True Use for the Quintessential Summer Fruit
Tomatoes, mozzarella and basil are a beloved trio for a reason: the sweet fruit combined with the creamy cheese and a pop of citrusy, herbaceous freshness is hard to beat. All you need to make these sandwiches on toothpicks are cherry or grape tomatoes, baby mozzarella (aka bocconcini), olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, basil leaves and a fistful of toothpicks. Assemble them a couple of hours ahead, arrange them on a platter and refrigerate, covered, until you're ready to serve.
Get the recipe: The Italian Job
Photo: Christopher Testani
A Reinvention of the Eggs Everyone Expects
Up your picnic game with these dressed-up deviled eggs, which look
just like the finger food you're used to, but taste infinitely richer and more interesting. It's simply a matter of mixing in three flavorful Mediterranean ingredients, along with the egg yolks and mayonnaise, preserved lemon, harissa and chopped capers. You'll end up with an appetizer that's a winning combination of sweet, tart, spicy and salty. And you can make these bites up to a day ahead of time (store the eggs and filling separately; then, two hours before serving, fill the eggs, cover with plastic and refrigerate).
Get the recipe: Mediterranean Deviled Eggs