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07.23.10 by  

Cocktail Party Canapés: Crostini

Toss out your fork, knife, chopsticks and assorted other feeding utensils. These go-to finger foods require only hands, mouths and a little etiquette. Pinkies in the air at your own discretion. Part 1 of 3.

You’re at a party, vintage coupe in one hand and a gorgeous tray of appetizers staring you smack in the taste buds. Good thing these are finger-friendly foods — all you need to do is grab one, pop it into your mouth and get back to the booze. All hail efficient cocktailing.

When you can't choose a single color scheme for your party, we say use them all. Makes apps much more visually stimulating and gives wallflowers something to talk about.

Start with thinly sliced, toasted bread, such as:

  • French baguette topped with goat cheese and cherry honey then sweetened with a drop or two of juice from your brandied cherry jar.
  • Sourdough topped with thin-sliced grilled merguez, plus a pinch of arugula tossed in a coriander vinaigrette.
  • Rye topped with a “salad” of cooked red potatoes, finely chopped green beans, blue cheese and honey, sprinkled with chives.
  • Whole-wheat baguette topped with a spoonful of chimichuri seasoned chicken salad.
  • Flatbread topped with fava bean and chickpea purée.
  • Foccacia with chopped eggs, chives and tomatoes, topped with fried prosciutto.

Fava Bean and Chickpea Purée

This simple, fresh-tasting topping is surprisingly flavorful and a cool alternative to tapenade. Use leftovers as a spread on burgers or fish sandwiches.

  • 1 pound fresh fava bean pods, main shell removed (or 1/2 pound frozen, they come with the outer shell removed)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and cayenne pepper
  1. Wash (and thaw if using frozen) shelled fava beans. Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add fava beans, cook for about 4 minutes on high heat.
  2. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl while the beans cook. Drain blanched fava beans and place into ice bath to cool.
  3. Make a small incision on the skin of each fava bean with a paring knife, then peel skin away from the inner bean. Discard skins.
  4. Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until well combined and creamy.
  5. Taste and adjust flavor and texture by adding more freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt, cayenne pepper or extra virgin olive oil.

Sex up your herb spread with edible flowers.

Herb Spread with Julienned Veggies

We love the fact that you can basically make this with what you have in your fridge combined with what’s growing on your ledge, stoop or sill.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup half and half
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs, to taste — such as dill, tarragon or oregano
  • S&P to taste
  • Fresh vegetables, julienned — start with zucchini, carrots, parsnips or even fruits like green mangos or papaya.
  • Chives, chopped on a bias, for garnish
  1. Blend olive oil, half and half, lemon juice, herbs and S&P in a food processor.
  2. Toss desired amount with julienned vegetables and place on top of crostini. Garnish with chopped chives.