Most of us celebrate Memorial Day with picnics and barbecues, so it’s important to choose a menu that works well for outdoor dining. These five appetizers are ideal for Memorial Day menus because they are easy to transport and share with friends. Best of all, these finger foods are easy to make, allowing plenty of time to enjoy the sunshine.
Mini Vegetable Tarts
Using store-bought puff pastry dough, you can easily make savory vegetable tarts like these asparagus tartlets from Joy the Baker. Cut the dough into circles or rectangles that are small enough for individual servings, and then top each portion with grated cheese and slender asparagus or other vegetables. Sliced mushrooms and ramps — wild leeks — are good alternatives to asparagus. Bake the mini tarts until the pastry is brown and crisp, and serve them warm or at room temperature.
When I’m hanging out at a barbecue or picnic, I like to have something crunchy and salty to munch on throughout the day. Popcorn is ideal for snacking, and it tastes extra special when it doesn’t come out of a package. My favorite recipe for popcorn is Giada De Laurentiis’ version with olive oil and rosemary, which you can easily adapt to other ingredients. I sometimes substitute coconut oil or clarified butter for the olive oil, and jalapenos for the rosemary.
Homemade Vinegar Pickles
Homemade vinegar pickles are zesty complements to almost any menu, and they pair especially well with grilled meats. Vinegar pickles, also called quick pickles, are fun to make when you get creative with different combinations of vegetables and spices. This easy pickle recipe from CHOW is a good starting point, but I suggest substituting rice wine vinegar for the apple cider vinegar to get a cleaner color and flavor. Make the pickles at least a day in advance for best results.
There’s nothing wrong with classic hummus, but I prefer something a little more vibrant on a beautiful spring day. This edamame hummus from Bon Appetit blends edamame with peas, cilantro and fresh mint in a stunning green dip. The recipe suggests stirring the coarsely chopped ingredients together for a chunky texture, but you can also puree everything together for a smoother texture. Serve the dip with pita chips or vegetable crudité.
The combination of salty prosciutto and sweet peaches is always a crowd-pleaser. You can simply wrap each peach wedge with a thin strip of prosciutto, or add fresh basil and goat cheese for a little more complexity. To add a smoky flavor, grill the peaches for a couple minutes before wrapping them in prosciutto. Feel free to substitute other seasonal fruit for the peaches, such as fresh apricots or mangoes.