Hot Hors d'Oeuvre Recipes
Polenta Cales with Salmon and Caviar
These tempting bites, hot out of the oven, are always impressive. Much of their preparation can be done ahead, too, but they do require last-minute timing. Make only one or two hot items for large parties or else you will be spending all your time in the kitchen.
Mini Gorgonzola Popovers
(Makes 1 dozen)
Polenta Cakes with Salmon and Caviar
(Makes about 24)
You don't need to use an expensive caviar for this recipe. You can usually find
black lumpfish caviar in the canned fish area of your supermarket. If you can't find creme fraiche, substitute sour cream.
1 cup quick-cooking polenta
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Canola oil for frying
8 slices smoked salmon, each cut into 3 pieces
4 ounces creme fraiche
1/4 cup chopped chives
2 ounces black lumpfish caviar
To make the polenta cakes:
In a bowl, combine the polenta, flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the eggs and milk; stir to combine. Add the melted butter; stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes.
Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of the polenta batter into the skillet for each pancake. Cook until each side is lightly crisp and golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate as you continue cooking all the pancakes.
Place the polenta cakes on a serving platter. Top each with a piece of smoked salmon and a dollop of creme fraiche. Sprinkle some chives on top or insert a few slivers of chive. Top with a small dollop of caviar. Serve warm.
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper
1 ounce Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
In a bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, butter, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the cheese and thyme. Allow the batter to rest for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Butter a mini muffin pan with 12 cups.
Fill each cup to the top with batter. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the popovers from the pan and serve warm.
Mini Spinach Calzones
(Makes about 20)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped scallions
Salt and pepper
1 (11-ounce) package Pillsbury refrigerated pizza dough
1 egg, lightly beaten
Pizza or pasta sauce, warmed, for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a bowl, stir together the spinach, cream cheese, 1/3 cup Parmesan, scallions, salt and pepper.
Roll out the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface into a 15 x 12-inch rectangle. Cut the dough into 20 (3-inch) squares. Spoon a rounded tablespoon of filling in the center of each square. Brush edges of dough with some of the beaten egg. Fold the corner of each square to the opposite corner to form a triangle. Seal the edges closed with your fingers and then press with the times of a fork. Arrange the calzones on the prepared baking sheets. Prick tops of calzones with fork. Brush tops with remaining beaten egg. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake about 12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with sauce for dipping.
Pesto and Sun-dried Tomato Palmiers
(Makes about 40)
1 package Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry, thawed
1/3 cup pesto
1/4 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil, patted dry
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 9 x 11-inch rectangle. Spread the dough with half the pesto, half the tomatoes, and half the cheese. Working from the short end, roll one side halfway to the center. Then roll the other side to the center to meet. Repeat the instructions for the second sheet of puff pastry. Wrap the rolls with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the roll into 1/2-inch slices and place 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, Serve warm.
The best known kind of smoked salmon is cold-smoked. The technique turns the fish silky and translucent. Often labeled "Nova" or "Scottish", it's served in thin slices. Although some call smoked salmon "lox," real lox is salt-cured, not smoked.
Look for smoked salmon near the seafood department at the market. It's typically prepackaged in 4 or 8 ounce packages. You can also get it cut to order at specialty fish stores. Because smoking is a preserving method, this product will last in the refrigerator for up to one month if unopened.
Smoked salmon is best in simple preparations. Serve it with mild, soft cheeses like goat or cream cheese, sour cream, or creme fraiche. It's often paired with pickled onions, capers, or horseradish. Try it on flavorful breads, like pumpernickel or rye,
SERVE SOUP AS AN
Serve warm cream soups in espresso cups or shot glasses for an interesting
hors d'oeuvre. No spoons are necessary; guests can simply sip from the cup or glass.
Use these compact plates to hold your wine and appetizers in one convenient unit.
Some useful food words or terms that you may find in
Italian recipes, while dining at an Italian restaurant, or traveling in Italy.
HORS D'OEUVRES AND COCKTAILS
12 jumbo shrimp
6 fresh sage leaves, cut in half lengthwise
6 slices of prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise
Peel the shrimp, leaving the tail on.
Devein the shrimp and cut into the back of each about 1/4-inch.
Place a half of sage leaf into the cut edge of each shrimp.
Snuggly wrap around each shrimp with a slice of prosciutto.
In a large skillet, heat a little olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp to the skillet. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until the prosciutto is crisp and the shrimp are cooked through. Serve with lemon wedges.