My mum was a phenomenal cook.
Instinctive (never followed a recipe), inventive, and had an innate ability to land everything on the table at the same time, piping hot (I’m yet to fully master this!).
And yet, some of my fondest meals were when she would declare “we’ll just graze”, which meant it was time for… the cold plate.
The Cold Plate (it’s always capitalized in my head) featured whatever bits and bobs were floating around the fridge – a hunk of cheese, a bit of salami, some cold salads, whatever. It all worked.
The Cold Plate is a close cousin of the Cheese Plate – just a plate full of cheese and meat, good for staving off the nibbles whilst traveling or wandering. I’ve had my fair few of cheese plates, notably in Prague, Montreal, and England (here’s one from our honeymoon in Prague and my word, it was delicious):
The Cold Plate has become one of my favorite summer dishes (even though it’s not a dish at all!), because it’s a good way to avoid the oven heat, clear a bit of space in the fridge, and get creative about what can go together. Half the fun is artfully arranging the “grazing bits” for consuming!
Here are a few of my faves from this summer:
(Costco) chicken salad on (Costco) croissants, some cut up veg, hard boiled eggs, cheese, and some fruit macerated with sugar, all well dress with kosher salt and pepper (except the fruit)!
Leftover salad and leftover ham, a random pickle, cheese, fruit, egg, and hummus with dippers and a childhood throwback: “ants on a log” (you know, celery and peanut butter with raisins!).
And sometimes… it’s just delicious hunks of cheese, good butter, and Carrs table water crackers … the unfussiest of meals…
What’s your “go to” summer dinner?