It was a potluck, but also a wedding. I ruled out hot dogs and chips and potato salad. Not that I don’t have a mean potato salad recipe, but still…Maybe something fancier. Something that I didn’t have to babysit, something that didn’t require instructions.

Most importantly, something that didn’t require the use of the oven or the responsibility of grill supervisor on a hot August night. NOT HAPPENING.

T.Tseng/ Flickr

These were not them. Mine weren’t nearly so pretty.                                                                                    T.Tseng/ Flickr

Enter an adapted version of these Shrimp and Mango salad rolls. The mangoes at the store did not look very good. so I used papaya instead and they were lovely and tropical. I also threw in some sweet peppers and cucumber. So refreshing in this heat.

My god, the heat.

I also threw some of these salted brown butter crispy treats together at the last minute and they disappeared. A little more sophisticated than the usual, these were definitely wedding appropriate.

courtesy: Deb Perelman

courtesy: Deb Perelman

Splendid Table and Smitten Kitchen can ALWAYS be trusted with our potlucks and with our lives.

So, dearest readers, a few things to consider when signing that potluck list:

1. Time commitment; Exactly how long are you willing to spend on this dish when you take into account everything else happening in your life? How far in advance can you safely make it? If you are in the wedding, consider picking up a pie or a large order of Pad Thai (to be re-plated later) to maintain your sanity.

2. Season; Is it winter? Consider a croc-pot chili. Spring? How about a quiche?

3. Heating/ Cooling situation: Where are we having this little shindig? Will you need to bring your own cooler and ice like I did or will there be refrigeration? Be prepared to bring everything required to present and serve your dish. Do not assume that they will have extra serving spoons. Also do not assume that there will be enough room and outlets for a croc-pot, toppings, bowls and spoons.

4. Fussy factor: I REALLY, REALLY wanted to bring Elote but didn’t want to spend all of my time explaining to people how to put it together, nor do I think that a potluck dish should require instructions. I certainly wasn’t going to grill in my wedding best and I didn’t expect any of the other guests to have to work for my dish, so I scrapped it.

5. Easy to eat: Finger foods are a great way to avoid the messy nature of buffet-style meals and handheld items like burritos and handpies won’t monopolize the table space.

6. Is the recipe adaptable to a crowd? Figure on making enough pot-luck yummy for a quarter of those expected. There will be plenty of other food, but 25 salad rolls is still 25 salad rolls and that takes a time commitment.


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