Paring meat and fish together can sometimes be a tricky one, but prosciutto and scallops are a perfect match. Salty, smoky and fatty bacon protects the delicate scallops from drying out when cooking, and add a crisp layer. You can serve this before meat or fish too, and the flavours wont overpower your main.
No matter what main you’re planning on making this summer, this light and refreshing gazpacho will be a welcome addition to your menu for alfresco dining. Serve before a make-ahead quiche or tart, for an even more stress-free dinner.
Marinated onions, tomato chutney and sweet, buttery brioche are paired with goats cheese in this veggie starter. This would work well before any main, whether you’re sticking to veggies or moving on to meat or fish. You can prep these ahead, and just grill them when your guests arrive to save you time too.
Avocado is such a hot ingredient right now, so if it isn’t in your main, it will be a great starter with our sweetcorn pancakes. Use fresh sweetcorn, just sliced off the cob if you can, but tinned would work as well.
You could also put them all on a big platter with a big bowl of the avocado and tomato salad in the middle, for a more causal dinner so people can just help themselves, or you could double the recipe and make them a little smaller if you’re having s a stand-up canapé as a starter.
Kickstart your dinner party with a bit of heat, and squid is a great ingredient to start with as it’s quick to cook, not overly filling and carries any flavour really well. This squid is marinated in turmeric, and served with a sweet-sour and citrus dressing. Serve with a few baby leaves and crispy fried onions for a stunning plated starter.
This starter would go with any main, and if asparagus isn’t in season, you could use green beans or long stemmed broccoli.
Fresh mint, creamy mozzarella and salty capers. Leave out the anchovies for a veggie starter, and serve as a help-yourself platter for alfresco dining, or styled on plates with an individual burrata to break into each.
Season with lots of black pepper to serve. Fresh broad beans would work best here, but you could use double podded frozen ones if they aren’t in season.
Soup is a classic dinner party starter, but our watercress and mint soup is a show stopper too. Decorate with goats cheese crostini, (or tiny grilled cheese if the weather is a bit chilly) with orange zest and mint sprigs to serve.
This would be perfect before roast meats, whole fish or mushroom mains.
It might take a little effort, but it can all be done the day before so all you need to do is toast some sourdough and toss some leaves in a little olive oil for your guests.
Ceviche is really easy to make, despite contrary belief. It’s all about the fish you use in this recipe, it must be as fresh and you can get, (sashimi grade ideally) and really good quality.
The thinly sliced salmon is dressed in a chilli, citrus and coriander dressing for a fresh, light starter that would work particularly well before pastas, spicy Mexican dishes or BBQ mains.
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