Call them a pre-dinner snack or the delay tactic of a chronically late cook - either way we like to have a few simple appetizers set out for dinner guests to munch as they arrive. We've found that arranging individual plates and bowls on a serving tray is both a pretty way to present them and extremely handy.
Serving appetizers on a tray makes them mobile. At parties with a lot of guests, we like being able to move appetizers from one location to another and then back into the kitchen for a refill. This is more easily done on a tray than trying to gather several dishes in our hands at once.
With a tray, a plated appetizer can also become a passed appetizer. We can pick up the tray and mingle with our guests, offering them little bites and nibbles. The tray also catches many of the stray drips that come from scooping up sauce or grabbing another crostini. This makes clean-up a lot easier later!
If you don't own a serving tray, it's easy to improvise with large dinner plates or a baking sheet covered with a few cloth napkins. We've even been to parties where appetizers were served on upside-down frisbees!
What other tips do you have for serving appetizers?
Related: What Make-Ahead Appetizers Travel Well?
(Image: Faith Durand)