Boards, Platters, Plates

Recipes for Entertaining, Sharing, and Snacking


By Maria Zizka

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Casual, Vibrant, Delicious

Choose from a dazzling collection of thirty beautiful, well-crafted boards, whether you’re serving a group of two or ten. Try Catalonian Summer with romesco, charred green onions, anchovy toasts, and Manchego for an intimate outdoor gathering. Make a dinner of the Korean BBQ platter with bulgogi-style beef, lettuce cups, gochujang dipping sauce, and kimchi. Or go straight for the sweets with a dessert like S’mores Without a Campfire. Plus, check out the party-size boards for your next holiday or celebration.

Start with the four principles for creating the right board for any occasion:

  1. Looks matter
  2. Stay flexible
  3. Make it fun to eat
  4. Embrace store-bought components

You’ll find that every meal becomes one worth sharing.



frizzled shallot dip + potato chips + Marcona almonds + olives

Serves 2 to 4 Inspired by the Italian ritual of a predinner snack, this board has a couple of components you might expect (olives and salty almonds), but it also has a riff on sour cream–and–onion dip that's made with frizzled shallots and the thick strained yogurt called labne. Sour cream is an easy substitute if you can't find labne, but the labne is better because it's thicker and creamier.

Frizzled Shallot Dip

Makes about 1 cup (225 g)

1 large or 2 small shallots, peeled and very thinly sliced

½ cup (120 ml) vegetable oil

Fine sea salt

1 cup (225 g) labne or sour cream

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

Store-bought components

Dill pickle potato chips or sea salt potato chips

Marcona almonds, Guara almonds, or salted roasted almonds

Castelvetrano olives or other olives with pits

Make the frizzled shallot dip: Line a plate with paper towels or a clean brown paper bag. Place the shallots in a small saucepan and pour in the vegetable oil. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are mostly brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Strain the fried shallots through a fine-mesh sieve, and then spread them out on the prepared plate. Sprinkle them with a pinch of salt. (Save the flavorful shallot oil for another recipe, like Korean BBQ.)

In a medium bowl, stir together the labne, lemon juice, and frizzled shallots. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the frizzled shallot dip into a small bowl and top with the chopped chives. Place the bowl on the serving board, with the potato chips alongside. Set the Marcona almonds on the board as well. Place the mixed olives on the board (and don't forget to set out a tiny bowl for pits!).

Catalonian Summer

romesco + charred green onions + anchovy toasts + Manchego

Serves 2 to 4 Romesco is a bright orangey-red Catalonian sauce made from roasted peppers, tomatoes, and ground almonds. It's a delicious dip for charred green onions, and you can make what I consider a perfect bite by combining the two on an anchovy toast with a thin slice of Manchego cheese.


Makes about 1½ cups (350 g)

1 (8-ounce/225 g) jar of roasted peppers, drained and rinsed

4 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and rinsed

¼ cup (35 g) salted roasted almonds or Marcona almonds

1 garlic clove

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon smoked paprika (sweet or hot)

Pinch of chile flakes

Fine sea salt

¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Charred Green Onions

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

6 green onions, cut into 3-inch (7.5 cm) segments

Flaky sea salt

Anchovy Toasts

6 anchovy fillets, rinsed

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

2 thick slices of country-style bread (like rustic sourdough)

Extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

Store-bought components

Manchego cheese (or any firm sheep-milk cheese), thinly sliced

Make the romesco: In a food processor, blend the roasted peppers, tomatoes, almonds, garlic, vinegar, paprika, chile flakes, and ½ teaspoon of fine salt until combined. While the machine is spinning, slowly pour in the olive oil and blend until smooth, 10 to 30 seconds. Taste and season with more salt if needed and a little more chile flakes if you'd like the sauce to be spicier. Spoon the romesco into a small serving bowl.

Char the green onions: Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat for 3 minutes. Swirl in the olive oil and place the green onions in the pan. Cook, turning the onions once or twice, until completely tender and charred in some places, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a small plate and season with 2 pinches of flaky salt.

Make the anchovy toasts: Place the anchovies in a small dish and pour in the vinegar. Let marinate for about 5 minutes and up to 1 hour. Toast the bread well until the edges are browned but not burned. Drizzle the bread with olive oil and then cut each slice on an angle into 3 or 4 equal-size pieces. Drape 1 marinated anchovy over each piece of toast. Season generously with pepper.

Assemble: Arrange the anchovy toasts on one side of the board. Place the bowl of romesco in the middle of the board, with the plate of charred green onions next to it. Set the sliced Manchego on the other side.


party size

tiny roasted summer squash–and–goat cheese sandwiches + tiny ham-and-butter sandwiches + seven-minute eggs + radishes + Comté + cornichons

Serves 8 to 10 Tiny two-bite sandwiches are pretty cute and fun to eat. You can't go wrong following the French lead with a baguette, a generous amount of salted butter, and good-quality ham. If you only have unsalted butter on hand, sprinkle a little flaky salt over the butter when you're assembling the sandwiches. The other tiny sandwich with roasted squash and goat cheese is a nice option for vegetarians.

Seven-Minute Eggs

6 large eggs

Roasted Summer Squash–and–Goat Cheese Sandwiches

3 or 4 small long summer squash (about 1 pound/455 g), sliced crosswise into ¼-inch (6 mm) rounds

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 baguette

4 ounces (115 g) fresh goat cheese (the kind with herbs is nice!)

2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Ham-and-Butter Sandwiches

1 baguette

4 to 6 tablespoons (55 to 85 g) really good salted butter, at room temperature

8 ounces (225 g) jambon de Paris or other good-quality ham, sliced paper-thin

Store-bought components

2 bunches of radishes, trimmed and cut into halves or quarters

1 large wedge of Comté or other firm French cheese

1 small jar of cornichons

Cook the eggs: Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Carefully lower in the eggs, adjust the heat so that the water simmers gently, and cook for exactly 7 minutes. (If you're starting with fridge-cold eggs, after 7 minutes of cooking time, the whites will be set but the yolks will still be soft and a little runny in the centers; if you prefer yolks that are fully set, cook the eggs for 10 minutes total.) Transfer the cooked eggs to a bowl of ice water and let cool for 2 minutes, then crack and peel away the shells.

Make the squash sandwiches: Heat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Place the squash rounds in a single layer on a baking sheet, drizzle with the oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, turning once, until the squash is tender and golden brown in a few places, about 25 minutes.

Using a sharp serrated knife, carefully slice the baguette lengthwise. Place the two halves cut-side up. Spread the goat cheese evenly across both halves, then tile the roasted squash rounds on top of the cheese. Scatter the herbs and slice the sandwich crosswise into two-bite portions.

Make the ham sandwiches: Using a sharp serrated knife, carefully slice the baguette lengthwise. Place the two halves cut-side up. Spread the butter evenly across both halves. Drape the ham over the butter, and then slice the sandwich crosswise into two-bite portions.

Assemble: Place the tiny sandwiches on one side of a large board. Cut the peeled eggs into halves, season with salt and pepper, and arrange them next to the sandwiches. Set the radishes, Comté, and cornichons alongside (with a small fork for spearing the cornichons and a small knife for serving the cheese).

The radishes and cornichons are nice to pick up and crunch on to cleanse your palate between bites of the more structured tiny sandwiches. And the cheese is just great to have on this board because it's cheese!

New Fondue

baked cheese + garlic-rubbed baguette croutons + chicories + fig jam + apricots

Serves 2 to 4 You can make this new take on fondue with any whole wheel of soft-ripened cheese like Brie, Camembert, or Cambozola. Little 4-ounce (115 g) wheels are ideal for two servings, but don't worry if your cheese is larger or smaller—the cooking method is the same. For a fun alternative to this recipe, use apricot jam and fresh figs, or come up with your own combo of fresh fruit and cooked fruit.


  • “Share the pleasure. Pick-and-mix platters are perfect for picnics and relaxed alfresco lunches—and the options are endless.”
    YOU magazine, The Mail on Sunday

On Sale
Apr 27, 2021
Page Count
160 pages

Maria Zizka

Maria Zizka

About the Author

Maria Zizka is the author of numerous award-winning cookbooks. She studied biology at UC Berkeley and food culture at UNISG in northern Italy, where she now teaches as a visiting lecturer. She was named by Forbes as one of the most influential people under 30 in the world of food and drink. Zizka lives and cooks in the Berkeley Hills with her husband and two sons.

Learn more about this author