I found this recipe for Sopressata “Blossoms” several years ago and, until this year, it has never made the short list for any of my party menus.  I wasn’t sure they could be prepared in advance, and worried they were too labor-intensive to save for the last minute.  I finally decided to give them a practice run at Thanksgiving, and they were such a hit that I made them for a recent holiday cocktail party.  These delicious little bundles were worth the effort (as I was told by several people); they provide a mouthful of complex and fresh flavor in a small, bite-size package.  It helps that they’re pretty too!

While I do have to admit that tying the chives got to be a bit of a hassle (one chive seems to break for every one tied at the beginning of the process), this no-cook appetizer was otherwise very simple and required less time than some of the other small hors d’oeuvres I served.  Tying the chives requires a certain amount of patience and a delicate touch, but once you have the hang of it they can be done fairly quickly.

Give these a try if you are looking for a fresh idea for a holiday or New Year’s cocktail party.  These Sopressata “blossoms” are also excellent with wine and cheese.

This recipe is adapted from Gourmet magazine (August 2003) – http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Grape-Tomato-Blossoms-108382

Sopressata & Grape Tomato “Blossoms”

1/3 cup peppered Boursin cheese (from a 5.2-oz package), softened
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
18 very thin slices Sopressata (Italian dry-cured salami or other salami, 3 ½” diameter slices; about 1/4 lb)
18 grape tomatoes
18 long fresh chives

Place a sheet of plastic wrap on your work surface.  Lay Sopressata slices flat, in rows, on plastic wrap to begin filling them in an assembly line manner.  Place about ½ tsp. softened cheese in the middle of each slice of Sopressata.  Sprinkle each cheese mound with chopped basil.  Press 1 grape tomato stem side down in the cheese to stabilize it.  Gather Sopressata up around the tomato; turn wrapped tomato on its side and lay in the center of a chive.  Carefully tie chive just below the gathered edges (around the middle of where the tomato sits) in a double knot, leaving top of tomato exposed.  Trim chive ends, turn bundle upright and gently press the smooth bottom on the counter to flatten.  Tie remaining “blossoms” in the same manner.  Blossoms can be made up to 8 hours in advance and chilled in an air-tight container or loosely covered with plastic wrap.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.