Now that charcuterie, cupcakes and punch have been sufficiently revived, let us set our sites on...the relish tray! A recent estate sale visit reminded me of how ubiquitous the relish tray once was in American culture. While you might think that crudités is the same thing as a relish tray, these cousins are not exactly interchangeable--in my mind anyway.
Crudites are raw or par-cooked vegetables I usually serve with a sauce for dipping. They are what is best and most fresh from the market or grocer. A relish tray, is similar in that it may contain some raw or fresh vegetables, but it will also probably have some stuffed olives, home pickled vegetable and several other things from a jar. You might have some celery that has been stuffed with pimento cheese or some other kind of spread. Perhaps some cucumbers and vinegar?
I think we just about always had a relish tray when Mildred was serving dinner. It was never anything fancy, but I know she always had a small bowl of the cucumbers with onion, some raw spring onions I only remember her eating and...I can't remember quite what else. My dad usually puts together a relish platter when we're dining there and my brother mocks my sister-in-law, saying her families' relish tray is just black olives. My new relish dishes inspired me to put together two relish trays, perfect for cocktails or a glass of wine, but created for a make-your-own-sandwich buffet we had at work.
- Sun-dried tomato stuffed olives
- Carrot sticks (not baby-cut carrots!)
- Pickled asparagus
- Garlic gherkins
- Celery sticks stuffed with horseradish cream cheese
- Dill pickle spears
- Pickled okra
- Black olives