The big buffet: It's as easy as two do-ahead mains and a grab bag of sides
If you’re cooking for a crowd, I have three words of advice: open house buffet. Give guests a window of time to drop by, start with a festive cocktail, and fill your biggest table with scrumptious dishes that are mostly make-ahead. The result is an elegant yet low-key party that takes the stress out of entertaining.
As a party pro, I’ve developed a foolproof strategy for building a crowd-friendly buffet: Start with a couple of main dishes that taste great at room temperature, like a whole glazed ham and a side of salmon, supplement them with simple sides, and then fill out the table with store-bought extras like spiced or candied mixed nuts, crudité and dip, biscuits a cheese platter garnished with fresh and dried fruit. For dessert, ask guests to bring cookies or other bite-size sweets.