An obvious advantage to “assemble it yourself” buffet style meals is that a person can take just the items they desire and leave the ones they don’t. Aside from choice of ingredients, individuals seem to have a preference how the food is arranged on their plate.
For instance, Faye and I have completely different approaches to assembling a Southwestern style bean salad (commonly known as “Frito Salad” or “Haystacks”) as to the order we add ingredients. In my opinion, the cheese belongs on top of the beans (especially if the beans are heated) and the Fritos belong on top where they will stay crisp. Faye, however, tends to put the corn chips on the bottom and the shredded cheese on the very top (which admittedly looks more like a haystack).
One of our go-to meals when we don’t feel like putting much effort into preparation is potatoes with broccoli. We get together various accouterments from which to choose and assemble the ingredients on our plates as we each see fit.
Aside from the potatoes and broccoli, our ingredient choices for toppings today were:
- homemade nopalitos
- Manzanilla stuffed olives
- basil aioli
- Wyke Farms cheddar cheese
Toppings we sometimes have are:
- pickled beets
- chopped raw onion
- marinated artichoke hearts
Toppings we seldom have anymore are:
- sour cream
Faye tends to arrange all her chosen ingredients in a single stack with the cheese usually on top (if we even use it), whereas, I prefer the cheese (if we use it) directly on top of the potato where it can melt. I also prefer the broccoli on the side with a dollop of aioli. The correct way is, of course, a matter of personal preference (unless you really want my opinion). 😉