If you like entertaining and you’re committed to or need to be gluten-free, what do you serve and still please your friends? Challenging I know, but I love a challenge, so I turned on my creative left brain, searched my right brain buffet know-how and this is what I came up with. Strategy: Put together a series of platters that can sit on a buffet table. The key to doing this successfully, with minimum fuss, is to buy great ingredients – both fresh and packaged – that are easy to prepare ahead, then you just arrange and replenish.
1. An antipasto platter – This can be difficult if our resource is the deli counter since many sliced meats have gluten. However, all of Boar’s Head deli meats are gluten-free so feel free to roll that ham and turkey. Or try putting together an assortment of grilled veggies, olives and long stemmed artichokes. Buy these from glass jars or cans where you can read the ingredients and not from the specialty bars that are prevalent in grocery stores and supermarkets. These are usually shipped to them and the staff’s knowledge of ingredients is usually sketchy or non-existent.
2. A platter of fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes and basil with a sprinkling of olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Can’t go wrong with this.
3. A platter of assorted cheeses, fresh fruit and gluten-free crackers.
4. An assortment of dips such as artichoke/spinach dip; guacamole; hummus or eggplant caponata served with gluten-free tortilla chips, flat bread or crackers.
5. A mixed green and kale salad – with various toppings such as quinoa salad, carrot salad, lentil salad (pick your favorites) so your guests can top their greens with their choices…a fun way they can customize their own salad. Served with a variety of dressings or make your favorite vinaigrette. Check the Gluten-free Resource Directory for ideas and products.
6. If meat is on the menu, serve the best – a whole side of filet mignon blackened with a variety of gluten-free rubs (I like a mix of paprika, cayenne, black pepper and chopped fresh parsley) pan-seared and finished in the oven. To serve, slice thin and arrange on a platter. Serve with horseradish sauce such as a gluten-free one from Boars Head.
7. For a little seafood I like to roast a whole side of salmon, sprinkled with a little olive oil, salt and pepper or for something different I make a crust of rice cracker crumbs mixed with chopped herbs, roast it and serve it with a fruit and tomato salsa. Both the filet and the salmon taste great at room temp so once you plate it, you can forget about it.
For passed hor d’oeuvres, you may want to purchase a large assortment of sushi. Not the pre-made kind but a specially ordered platter made by a chef, at a store you trust, where you can specify that all ingredients must be gluten free. They’re easy to pick up with your fingers and pop in your mouth. But buy your own soy sauce. Some have gluten and some don’t. Or…you can make your own sushi. It’s easier than you think. Maybe I’ll write an article on it because…almost everyone loves sushi. And it’s fun to make. You can even have a sushi making party…but that’s another story.
And finally for dessert, you can raid a gluten free bakery if there’s one in your area or check the Gluten-free Resource Directory and order ahead. Or you can always make yogurt and fresh berry parfaits. They’re beautiful, delicious and nutritious.