Entertaining aboard your boat can be simple and classy at the same time. Dropping anchor and digging in the galley for an orphaned bag of chips or your kid’s goldfish crackers can be a thing of the past. Whether you are hosting friends or enjoying time with family, keeping a few basics in the galley will allow you whip up tasty appetizers or tapas to serve along side cold beer and wine. Several of these items can be stocked at the beginning of your boating season and left aboard, ready at a moments notice.
What to stock aboard
Good crackers, bread sticks, or crostini chips in well-sealed containers
A few small jars of olives
Small container of extra virgin olive oil
Jarred roasted red peppers
Chunk albacore tuna or salmon
Any pickled vegetable
Black pepper grinder with fresh peppercorns
Red pepper flakes
Fresh items that can be bought before casting off include seasonal fruit, garlic, ripe tomatoes, prosciutto or chorizo, bread and cheeses. Stock your pantry with toothpicks, small knives for spreads, plates and napkins. If you expect to serve tapas to a group it may be wise to seek out lightweight rimmed dishes or bento-box-type containers to corral your food and ensure its delivery to your guests and not the bilge scuppers.
Once the day is done and anchor set, it’s time to pour the refreshments and whip up a few tasty tapas:
- Marinate the olives in chopped garlic, a little grated citrus peel if you have it, crushed red pepper flakes and dried rosemary. Serve along side salted nuts, cheese and fruit.
- For a more formal option, skewer Greek olives along with roasted red pepper, chucks of tuna, and cocktail onions for a decidedly French Mediterranean flavor. Serve with crackers or bread sticks.
- If you picked up fresh bread and tomatoes on your way to the dock, toast the slices, rub with garlic, drizzle with oil and top with sausage, cheese, or fresh tomato slices for more hearty fare. Serve along side pickled vegetables or olives.
If you are an advance planner, taking the time to make a classic bean dip or fresh salsa is always worth the trouble. For a simple bean spread put a can of rinsed white beans, crushed garlic clove, teaspoon of coriander and a dash of cayenne pepper into a food processor. Add two tablespoons of good olive oil and a jar of roasted red pepper, process until smooth, and seal in a plastic container for the boat cooler. Serve with crackers or toasted bread slices.
You can’t go wrong with these classic options but the possibilities are endless. Mix it up, try new things, and be creative. Find your favorites, add them to your repertoire, and expand beyond.