Grilled beef and horseradish-yogurt spread
on a baguette. Photo courtesy Nature’s
Even if you live in Maine, it’s still warm enough to grill outdoors. So the next time you have a cocktail party or a simple wine gathering, grill your hors d’oeuvre. (In French, “hors d’oeuvre” is used for both singular and plural forms of the noun. Americans who don’t know French add an “s” at the end.)
Start with canapés: finger foods composed of a base and topping, meant to be eaten in one bite. The name is the French word for sofa: the topping sits upon the “sofa.” The topping itself is called the “canopy.”
(Punsters: You can make a “couch potato” by topping the base with a potato-based food, such as cubed ham and potato salad with grainy mustard-mayonnaise and capers, or mashed potatoes mixed with salmon caviar.)
Miniature versions of grilled cheese (slice a regular sandwich into quarters) can be enhanced with chutney or any of these wonderful gourmet grilled cheese recipes. We’ve served several different grill cheese on the same tray: blue cheese, cheddar and smoked Gouda, for example.
To plan your grilled hors d’oeuvre, select a base, a spread (which acts as a flavorful binder between the base and the topping) and a “canopy.”
MIX & MATCH YOUR INGREDIENTS
Pick Your Base
There are many different bases for canapés, ranging from pastry shells to tortilla chips. Here’s the best selection for grilled canapés.
Pick Your Spread
Many canapés are simply a base and a spread, such as cheese, pâté or relish. With grilled canapes, a different type of spread serves as the binder between the base and the grilled “canopy.”
Hors d’oeuvre on grilled pita wedges and grilled polenta rounds. Photo courtesy AddSomeLife.com.
Pick Your Canopy (Topping)
Canapés aren’t the only hors d’oeuvre that can be grilled. Skewers, in fact, are the obvious choice.
With a skewer instead of bread base, you save the carbs; but you often replace the calories with a dipping sauce.