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The Classic Relish Tray
The classic relish tray isn't seen much anymore, but it's still a fun and easy party food. It's somewhere between a crudité platter and an antipasti plate and serves as a nice palate cleanser. It can be put out before other food as an appetizer, to crunch on with drinks, or as a side dish while a full dinner is served. It provides nice bites of crisp freshness during the meal.
Dips and spreads are not traditionally part of a relish tray, but you can place a small dish of sea salt in the corner of the tray for people to dip the veggies into if they're so inclined.Continue to 2 of 12 below.
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Crunchy carrots, peeled and cut into long, elegant sticks are the traditional star of a relish tray. Mix things up by using different colored carrots, or kick up the flavor by serving pickled carrots instead of the plain raw version.Continue to 3 of 12 below.
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Chilled celery provides a refreshing crunch with every bite. Be sure to taste the bunch you have on-hand first since older celery or celery grown under too much heat can take on a bitter edge that you may not want to include on your relish tray.
Trim the stalks and cut them into long, elegant strips before adding to your tray.Continue to 4 of 12 below.
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Along with carrot sticks and celery sticks, olives are also essential to a traditional relish tray. They add a salty bite which is a lovely counterpoint to the mild sweetness of the fresh veggies. Classic versions add canned, pitted black olives, but you can also select tasty delights from the olive bar at the local specialty grocery store. If you want to serve them pitted, pit them yourself before serving.
You can stop here when making a basic relish tray. But why stop now? Add a few more items to take your relish tray to the next level.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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The bright crunch of fresh radishes adds both color and a peppery sharpness to a relish tray. Trim them and serve whole or cut in half or into quarters. If their greens are in good shape, you can leave some attached for a pretty effect.Continue to 6 of 12 below.
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The anise flavor of fresh fennel is a palate-cleansing addition to a relish tray. Trim off the long dark green stalks, trim the bulb, and cut into thin wedges. Use some fennel fronds to garnish the tray.
You can also add pickled fennel to your tray. It's still nice and crunchy but with a refreshing tartness.Continue to 7 of 12 below.
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They're not pickles, but some time in a vinegar marinade transforms these marinated mushrooms into something special. They add plenty of flavor and a new texture to a relish tray. This marinated eggplant provides a similar effect but you'll need a fork to eat it.Continue to 8 of 12 below.
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Bright, snappy pickled asparagus adds a salty, vinegary element to a relish tray. Just be sure to pat them dry before adding them to the tray so that the brine doesn't get all over the place or drip down people's fingers.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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Pickled Green Beans
Like pickled asparagus, pickled green beans can stand on their own as a snappy little snack. They're easy to pick up and eat with your fingers and blend in nicely with the rest of the relish tray components.Continue to 10 of 12 below.
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Some pickles, like cornichons or pickled okra, work like additional vegetables on the relish tray, adding a fresh but salty, tangy element. Other pickles have more of the tasty tidbit role, much like olives. Pickled garlic, pickled garlic scapes, pickled cherries, and lemon pickles all add little bursts of flavor to the spread.Continue to 11 of 12 below.
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Hits of SpiceContinue to 12 of 12 below.
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