When Kelly Wiggins decided to have a few friends over, she thought serving bruschetta would be an easy way to feed her guests. But after a crazy week at work, she found herself with less than an hour to prepare for the party.
Turns out, that’s not enough time to actually make bruschetta. Her boyfriend, personal chef Michael Bray, came to the rescue. A wiz in the kitchen who works even better under pressure, he managed to get everything ready with five minutes to spare. His secret? A do-it-yourself appetizer bar that looked planned instead of panicked.
Here’s how to re-create Bray’s spread for your next party: 1. Marinate diced tomatoes, sliced onions and buffalo mozzarella in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, black pepper and kosher salt. 2. Slice a few baguettes into rounds, arrange on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle on salt and pepper. Toast in the oven. 3. While the bread is warming, infuse some olive oil with fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese. This is sauce No. 1. 4. Lightly heat balsamic vinegar in a saucepan until it is reduced by half and starts to thicken. This is sauce No. 2. 5. Open jars of basil and sun-dried-tomato pesto, which you cleverly bought at the grocery store 15 minutes ago. Place contents of each jar in small bowls. These are sauces Nos. 3 and 4. 6. Put everything out on the table or counter. Watch people enjoy themselves.