This holiday season, the mantra is: always be prepared. It’s a social season, and the art of dropping by and hosting last-minute get-togethers is back. And let’s face it, it’s nice to gather together again, even for a drink and a few light bites. Here are three easy canapé recipes so you have soirée staples in the fridge this season.
A Few Staples
Before we get into the easy canapé recipes, there are basics that you should have at home. This applies to anytime of year, and not just for the holidays either. We get our inspiration from the simple Italian aperitivo. We first experienced the Italian hospitality at Harry’s Bar in Lake Como. As we ordered our first martinis of the trip, our waiter brought out a small trio of complimentary snacks. We found this was customary everywhere, to receive olives, potato chips and some nuts. At any point of time, these are staples we’ll have on hand for unexpected guests.
A Little Polo Bar Inspiration
Polo Bar in New York inspired us to take this trio to the next level. If we can’t home make the potato chips, we buy the highest quality or order chips from The Smith. We then add in chives, and if needed, a little more sea salt. For the nuts, we pan roast them with rosemary and Maldon sea salt again. The flavor of the nuts shine when you do this extra step. We also like to use the brightest, largest green olives with pits we can find. The color brightens up the presentation, and as you know, presentation is everything.
Always Be Prepared
There are some additional luxury staples we suggest you have at home, and we know that what’s to follow is arguably next-level crazy. First, no matter the time of year, but especially the holidays, we think you should have caviar in the house. Eataly has a house brand, Calvisius, that’s the “everyday caviar”. We always have an ounce or preferably a 1.75 ounce tin in the fridge to whip out for unexpected guests. The tins last about 3 weeks, so it’s guilt-light if you eat the whole tin yourself. For more premium brands, check out our Caviar to Watch List (yes, that’s apparently a thing).
Caviar goes on eggs, blinis, toast with butter or right out of the tin on a mother of pearl spoon. We try to keep creme fraiche handy as well, which double duties for my Gordon Ramsey style-European soft scramble eggs.
Some Smoked Salmon
Additionally, we like to keep some Daniel Boulud smoked salmon in the Highlands Whiskey version in the fridge during the holidays. Smoked salmon just looks beautiful on a plate and you can dress it up with chives, dill, eggs, red onion and a small dollop of creme fraiche.
Frozen – Yes, Frozen, Hors d’Oeuvres
Lastly, if we’re talking about easy canapés recipes, it doesn’t get easier than store bought. There is no shame for us to have frozen hors d’oeuvres stocked in the ice box. We actually use the frozen more nowadays than make my own, because these versions are better than the average person can make. The Perfect Bite Co does delicious mushroom arancini, that you can dress up with a tiny bit of truffle oil and micro greens. Pika’s Farm Table and Saugatuck Kitchens make gorgeous mini-quiche and goat cheese crostini. There’s no reason to build it, if you can buy it better. These go-to canapés save you at least 8 hours in prep, cook and clean up time.
On the Menu
Crudités with Green Goddess Dip
Caviar & Chive Potato Chips
Roasted Pecans with Rosemary & Maldon Sea Salt
Smoked Salmon in Sugar Snap
Truffle Gruyere Roulettes
King Crab Crostini & Microgreens
Smoked Salmon in Sugar Snaps Ingredients
For 24 Canapes
24 Sugar snap peas
1 1/2 lb Daniel Boulud smoked salmon
Dill & Sesame Seeds for garnish
As far as easy canapés recipes go, this one delivers high on the presentation factor. It’s about the simplicity and quality of the ingredients. Remove the stems of the sugar snap peas. Blanch the sugar snaps in boiling salted water for about 2 minutes. Drain and immediately place in an ice water bath. This will stop the peas from cooking further. You want them soft enough to form a small boat shape around your salmon, but you don’t want them to get soggy.
Roll the salmon into 1/2 inch thick cylinders. Lay the sugar snap flat and place the salmon on top. Take a canapé toothpick and pierce the end of the sugar snap through the salmon and far end of the pea. Garnish lightly with creme fraiche, dill and sesame seeds.
Truffle Gruyere Roulettes Ingredients
For 24 Canapés
1 lb Gruyere or Comte cheese
Black or white truffle
For easy canapés recipes, it doesn’t get easier than this no-cook cheese with truffles. Truffles just makes everything better. As does cheese. With a cheese slicer on the thinnest setting, slice the gruyere or Comte into long, thin slices. Thinly slice the white or black truffle on top of the cheese. Roll the cheese into thin cylinders and place a toothpick in the center to hold the roulettes in place.
King Crab Crostini Ingredients
2 pounds fresh king crab, in shell
1 Meyer lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-6 shallots, finely chopped
2 sticks Neufchâtel cream cheese
4 ounces low-fat sour cream
10 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
4-6 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon Fleur de sel
1 bunch Chives
Thinly sliced breakfast radish
Microgreens for garnish
Toasted bread slices
This is the recipe that family looks forward to all year. It’s an easy canapés recipe but it does take some work. It’s a little labor of love to crack all the King crab, but it’s well worth the effort. We suggest you spread the King crab dip on olive oil toasted crostini and top with just a few micro greens for presentation. Or you can go all out with our version and add in some fennel and radish to lighten up the whole recipe. Alternatively, you can also wrap the filing in phyllo dough for a richer canapé. The base of the king crab dip is versatile, so choose your own adventure.
Preheat the oven to 350 ̊F.
De-Shell the King Crab
To prepare the king crab, de-shell and allow water/juices to drain into a colander. Squeeze a quarter of the Meyer lemon juice over the crab, set aside.
Make Your Cream Base
In a medium deep skillet, set on medium add oil, and sauté the shallots for 4 minutes or to a golden brown color. Using a spatula add the Neufchâtel cheese and stir to combine with the shallots. Add the sour cream and continue to stir, until fully combined. Add the paprika, cayenne pepper and fleur de sel, stir. Remove from heat, and set aside.
Assemble the Deliciousness
Add the crab and gently fold into the cheesy mixture. Add 7 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, and stir. Squeeze the rest of the Meyer lemon juice into the crab dip and 4–5 tablespoons of snipped chives.
Time to Bake
Transfer crab dip from skillet into an ovenproof, lightly greased baking dish. Spread the crab dip evenly in the dish. In a skillet on medium heat, melt butter, add the breadcrumbs and stir until lightly toasted. Add the remaining Parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs and spread the mixture evenly over the top of the crab dip.
Time to Broil
If cooking immediately heat the crab dip in the oven for 10 minutes. Switch the oven to broil and allow the top to brown for 3–4 minutes. Serve immediately with fresh slices of French bread, crudités, or even potato chips.
If preparing a day ahead, skip step 6, cool crab dip by covering with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight. When ready to serve remove crab dip from refrigerator and heat for 20-25 minutes, in a 350°F oven. Switch the oven to broil and allow the top to brown for 3–4 minutes.
Assemble the Canapés
Thinly slice the bread and drizzle with olive oil. Toast the bread for about 5-6 minutes in the oven or a toaster oven. Place the breakfast radish on top of the crostini so that it covers the top in a thin layer. Add a nest of the fennel on each crostini. Top with the king crab dip and garnish with micro greens and edible flowers.