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2 Quick & Easy Outdoor Finger Foods for Your Next Backyard BBQ

Summer's warm weather and bright skies call for backyard gatherings and outdoor dinners, and Pottery Barn's ideas for outdoor finger foods will help make your next barbecue a savory success. These menu items are the ideal easy BBQ appetizers to serve while the grill is heating up and your guests are settling in for a good time.

Caprese Sliders

Caprese salad commonly makes an appearance on lists of outdoor party food ideas, and for good reason: this bright, refreshing dish is the perfect celebration of summer tomatoes and basil. However, caprese salad isn't exactly a finger food. Put a new twist on an old classic by serving platters of bite-sized caprese sliders. The ingredients list is delightfully simple: bread, fresh mozzarella slices, fresh basil and sliced tomatoes, plus balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper. Focaccia is an excellent choice for your bread because it's sturdy yet soft (and easy to bite into) at the same time; use a serrated knife to slice the loaf in half crosswise to create two large halves. Then, slice the whole rectangle into squares. Ciabatta buns are another great option if you cut larger buns into quarters.

Assemble the sliders by putting a basil leaf on top of your bottom bread layer, placing the mozzarella on top, drizzling with the olive oil and balsamic, and topping with a tomato slice. Add a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper to enhance the flavor further. Serve with napkins so guests can enjoy the juiciness of the fresh tomatoes to the fullest.

Lettuce Boats

Take advantage of fresh summer produce by chopping it up and serving it wrap-style in lettuce leaves. Sturdy lettuces like romaine are best for this. The smaller, tighter leaves toward the heart of the lettuce to provide enough structure to support your veggies. These easy summer appetizers are highly customizable; you can use whatever's in season from your garden or at the farmer's market.

Choose veggies that taste great raw, and select a nice variety for a range of colors and textures. Try combining fresh cauliflower, zucchini, tomato, bell pepper, corn and anything else that suits your taste. You may even want to include some summer fruits like strawberries or blueberries to add sweet dimension to the dish. Wash your vegetables, and chop them all to a small dice. Individual corn kernels, for example, are just the right size for this dish. The goal is a flavorful mixture of small vegetable pieces to load into the lettuce leaves, making little "boats" that are easy for guests to grab.

To save some time, consider running your fresh veggies through a box grater or food processor; that's about the size and consistency to aim for. Mix the diced or shredded veggies in a bowl and add a salad dressing of your choice. You can sprinkle in some cheese if you'd like to add a little bit of savory creaminess to the appetizer. Heap the dressed veggie mix into the center of the lettuce leaves, and arrange them in a radiating pattern on a plate for a gorgeous presentation; no one will guess how fast and easy this dish really is!