When I think about Purim, I think about the number of people who will walk through my door. I’ll be compelled to feed them, even if just for the 10 minutes they are there.
I guess it’s the Jewish mother in me, the incessant over the top and excessive nature we are born with. I love nothing more than hosting and feeding people, and I’ll find any excuse to throw a party. Purim is just one of my favorite excuses.
When I think about what to feed my guests, the list is endless. But there are two rules I try to abide by on Purim:
1. It needs to be a good appetizer for a sit down meal, but also a grab-on-the-go small bite, that can be held in one hand whilst simultaneously holding a drink in the other.
2. It needs to be easy prep, easy to keep warm, and easy to refill.
So when thinking about Purim this year, crostini were my first thought. I have a slight obsession with this elegant Italian-style cracker right now. It works with virtually everything, and it is the best backdrop for so many exciting things! I love throwing them on a board with multiple topping options so guests can get creative and build their own.
When creating a crostini board, it’s good to add texture and variety. Meats are obvious, but Add a pesto for freshness, and some arugula for added crunch. I like to add some homemade dips and some vegetable options for the people who don’t want meat – tomato confit (Get the recipe here!) and mushroom ragu (Get the recipe here!) work perfectly. They also double as a great add-ons for the meats.
Most recently, my favourite topping is creamy foie gras. New to the market, this delicacy is purchased all ready to eat! It’s perfect for entertaining. One less thing to actually cook. Spoon it onto a crostini with some pomegranate red onion jam (Get the recipe here!) and you’ve got yourself the perfect holiday bite. Cherries also pair perfectly with duck, the tartness cuts into the fat and adds a sweetness, as do figs. Add both of these for that fruity note and added color to your crostini board. Pickles and olives, dried meat and dried fruits are also great fillers.
The easiest and best bread is french baguette. Its soft but chewy crust is great for supporting all of the toppings. Slice thin, and add on the board or to the side in separate basket. Toasting not necessary. Other bread options are toasted pita, bread sticks, or any and all crackers.
I am Australian, so even though my accent may be fading, my Aussie taste buds have not. There is nothing better than beer and a meat pie. It’s an Aussie staple, and for good reason. I amped this one up, making it a little more celebration-worthy by using braised oxtail and serving it in a cast iron skillet. Nothing pairs better with a beer then meat and pastry. The only issue? The men at your table may never leave. (Get the recipe here!)
The last (but easiest thing) that is a staple on my table—holidays or not—is some nice, rare, sliced meat. I sous vide some oyster steak, sliced it up, and threw it onto a wooden board. It’s the biggest wow factor with littlest amount of effort. Sous vide method cooking is life changing when it comes to entertaining. I throw the food in the water bath, and don’t have to worry about it overcooking or drying out. I take it out when I’m ready, give a quick sear, and can serve it nice and hot when guests walk in the door.
Serving Tip: slice thin so people can grab with a toothpick, roast some vine tomatoes for added color, and finish with some nice maldon salt for that perfect salty bite. Serve with truffle mayo, pomegranate red wine jam and homemade sweet and spicy ketchup. (Get the recipe here!)
What I like about my crostini board idea the most is that it can be thrown into a basket with some cute mason jars, ribbon, and BAM—you’ve got yourself a great shalach manos! I am all about the savoury food baskets. Gone are the days of stockpiling candies and super snacks; I like to give food that is going to be enjoyed in that very moment. I also appreciate something that be can bought over as a gift to a house you may be eating at and used as part of the meal. The best part is that it literally can be taken out and placed right on the table, AS IS. Voilá! Pretty sure they’ll be inviting you again.
See all of Adina’s Purim Recipes Below:
And make sure to tag her @the_chefs_wife and show her your creations!
Photos by Levi Teitlebaum [LT] – www.ellteephoto.com