Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Christmas Appetizers and Snacks – Canapés

Canapés are finger food and are little crackers, small slices of bread, toast or puff pastry, cut into various shapes topped with a "canopy" of such savoury foods as meat, cheese, fish, caviar, foie gras, purées or relish. Canapés can be traced back in time to the 3rd century B.C. when the Athenians introduced the first hors d’oeuvre buffet, complete with garlic, sea urchins, cockles and small pieces of sturgeon placed in front of the diners on small plates.

The word Canapé is French and means “couch”. Canapés are normally eaten in one bite and are often served during cocktail hours as they can be either salty or spicy, in order to encourage guests to drink more. A canapé may also be referred to as finger food, although not all finger foods are canapés. Crackers or small slices of bread or toast or puff pastry, cut into various shapes, serve as the base for savoury butters or pastes, often topped with a "canopy" of meat, cheese, fish, caviar, foie gras, purées or relish.

Smoked Salmon Canapés with Egg and Caviar

These canapés can be made with inexpensive lumpfish caviar or with the very expensive caviar if you prefer. To get perfect egg slices you can use an egg slicer sold at most kitchenware shops.

4 thin square slices of rye bread
½ cup spreadable cream cheese
8 to 12 slices smoked salmon
16 thin egg slices
3 to 4 tbsp caviar
chopped chives or dill to garnish

Spread the bread slices with the cream cheese. Arrange the salmon slices on top in a clean, single layer. Trim the very outer edges of each bread slice to get clean edges. Cut each bread slice into 4 squares. Top each square with a slice of egg. Top the egg with a small spoon of the caviar and garnish with chopped chives or dill.

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