One of the best things about entertaining today is that it is acceptable to take advantage of shortcuts in preparing the food--providing the results are both attractive and appetizing. It's no longer necessary to impress your guests with the fact that you have spent hours preparing goodies for them. And who has the time to do that these days? Instead, it's permissible to adapt good commercial products to your own ends.
And that's just what we have done with a batch of Bobolis, those handy and delicious little cheese-flavored bread rounds found in the deli section of many markets. These chewy breads make wonderful bases for pizza-like snacks to precede a light meal. Or, when you provide enough variety in the toppings, they can even be the meal themselves.
All it takes is some imagination and an eye for arranging the toppings attractively. The breads can be warmed and brushed lightly with a good-quality olive oil before being topped, or they can be served at room temperature. In some cases, they can be topped first and then heated. In other words, anything goes when you start with a Boboli bread.
To give you an idea of how flexible this type of party food can be, we photographed one example topped with colorful fresh deli salsa, marinated shrimp, avocado, cilantro and lime slices. Another was layered with sliced Roma tomatoes and bufala mozzarella cheese, then drizzled with store-bought pesto sauce and sprinkled with pine nuts and some fresh basil leaves. Still another was covered with a mixture of cucumber slices combined with prepared caponata , capers, Greek olives and feta cheese. Fresh curried chicken salad was the base for apple slices, raisins, mandarin oranges, banana chips, peanuts and coconut. And our final Boboli creation was a variation on lox and bagels: cream cheese topped with smoked salmon and garnished with chives, fresh dill, lemon and peppercorns.