Tiny Little Finger Foods

In our fourth week of catering and buffet we talked about those special cocktail foods called canapes. We talked about the differences between appetizers, hors d’oeuvres and canapes. The biggest difference between a canape and the other two items is that a canape is a one bite, open faced sandwich whereas the others are usually much larger and now always open faced. There are 4 parts that make up a canape and they are a base, a spread, a “main event” and a garnish. In class we made four different canapes some of which had a main event and a spread combined. The four canapes that we made were deviled quail eggs and rye toast points, profiteroles filled with blue cheese mouse, blue cheese and walnut crips (chips) with melon and prosciutto and last but not least salmon pate on potato pancakes.

The garnish and the flavoring of almost all of these dishes were up to us. We were simply given broad guidelines in which to follow. For the deviled quail eggs my partner and I wanted to really make them pop without adding too much heat. We added creme fresh, a dallop of mayo, mustard and a big pinch of ground ginger. The ginger really made the dish explode. With a canape, you really only have one chance to make your customer enjoy it, it’s a one bite dish. You have to make sure that each layer is flavored and each flavor is powerful.We pipped our yolk mixture back into our quail eggs and garnished with a half slice of caper.

The profiteroles with blue cheese mousse were a snap. We made profiteroles in our baking and pastry class and I believe I talked about them in a previous blog. Once the profiteroles were done baking we cut off the top and piped in our mousse. The blue cheese mousse consisted of a puree of equal parts blue cheese and cream cheese followed by a folded in addition of homemade whipped cream (no sugar added). We garnished our little puffs with tiny julienne cuts of red pepper.

The salmon pate was so delicious. We used smoked salmon that we had made in a previous class, and mixed it with mayonnaise, chives, lemon juice and whatever else we felt it needed. This is the type of assignment where you can truly see people thrive. Joining proper flavors is not something everyone can do and my partner and I nailed it. We shredded and peeled two russet potatoes and then squeezed out the excess moisture before combining them with a beaten egg, two tablespoons of flour and salt and pepper. We made teeny tiny pancakes and placed in hot oil over slightly low heat. You want these to be crisp, not soft in the middle like large pancakes. We topped each pancake with a measured scoop of salmon pate and garnished with a sprig of dill.

Our final canape was our walnut and blue cheese crisps with melon and prosciutto. We creamed butter and blue cheese together followed by an addition of salt, flour and finely minced walnuts. We rolled the mixture into whatever shape we wanted the crisps to be and placed it into the refrigerator for at least an hour. When they were hard enough to get clean cuts out of, we cut them and baked them until brown and crisp. We thinly sliced some prosciutto and rolled piece of it around our finger. We placed the roll of prosciutto on the crips and then filled them with brunoise cuts of honey-dew and cantaloupe. We garnished with some shredded cut mint.

It was a really fun day and even more exciting to see the designs that each group came up with when organizing their platters. Some people took chefs advice to create long lines and others went in different directions. All in all it was a productive day in learning what type of plating benefits your business and how to properly serve and put together a delicious canape.

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