These canapés are seriously good looking and tasty, and will leave your guests with no doubt about your capabilities in the kitchen. This selection of three includes two easy to prep options, a roasted butternut soup shots and a smoked trout pate, and a third slightly more involved recipe of mini-croque madams. The latter looks amazing and is well worth the extra effort to wow your guests.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup shots
Serve this soup in shot glasses decorated with drops of the vibrant parsley puree for a wonderfully warming winter canape, or in espresso cups if you want it to serve it at the table.
1 small butternut squash – weighing about 900g
3 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, 2 whole, unpeeled and 2 finely chopped
2 sprigs of thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely sliced
1 sticks celery, finely sliced
5 tbsp freshly chopped sage
1 litres hot vegetable stock
For the parsley purée:
1 bunch flatleaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
30g/1oz parmesan, finely grated
100ml/3½fl oz extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 220C
- Peel the butternut squash and cut it into chunks around 3cm x 3cm. Place them into a roasting tin with tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes or until soft and caramelised.
- After 25 minutes of cooking, add the unpeeled garlic and the sprigs of thyme.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a large pan. Add the onions, carrots, celery, sage and remaining garlic and cook gently for 10-15 minutes until soft but not brown.
- Pour the stock into the vegetables, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Once the squash is cooked, add it into the stock along with the other vegetables and then also squeeze the roasted garlic from its skin and add that too. Simmer everything for a further 5 minutes or until the squash is beginning to break up.
- Place the soup in a blender and blend until smooth. Return the soup to the pan and gently reheat. Check seasoning.
Make the parsley purée: place the chopped parsley into a food processor with the garlic and parmesan. Process until smooth. With the motor still running, slowly add the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Smoked trout paté on toast
I used local Morzine trout from the farm across the road from one of our chalets. It has a really smoky flavour which comes through in the paté, but any smoked trout you can get in a supermarket will be fine.
Makes about 24 pieces
150g smoked trout
200g tub soft cheese
1 tbsp crème fraîche
Juice half a lemon
Small bunch dill chopped and a few sprigs to garnish.
3 slices of wholemeal sandwich bread
1 tablespoon olive oil
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
- Cut the crusts off the bread and then cut each slice into 4 squares and then each square in to 2 triangles, giving you 24 small triangles in total. Arrange them on a baking tray and brush with olive oil then toast them in the oven until crisp.
- Chop the trout into small pieces. Tip the soft cheese, crème fraîche and lemon juice into a food processor, season generously with black pepper and blitz to your liking. Add the smoked trout and pulse a few times if you want the paté chunky or blitz some more if you want the paté smooth and pink.
- Stir the herbs into the paté and then place a small quenelle on top of each piece of toast. Then top with a little sprig of dill.
These are quite a faff to make but look amazing and are a massive crowd pleaser! The béchamel can be made a day or two in advance or even frozen.
150g grated Gruyère cheese
8 slices white sandwich style bread
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
120ml whole milk, warmed in a pan or microwave
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
Pinch ground nutmeg
100g thinly sliced cooked ham
16 quail eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C
- Then make the béchamel: Melt a tablespoon of the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking occasionally, until it’s no longer raw-tasting, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in the milk and add the measured salt and nutmeg. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.
- Place the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Melt the remaining butter and brush it on both sides of the bread, using all of it. Bake until the bread is toasted and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Set the baking sheet and bread aside.
- Evenly divide the ham over 4 of the toasted bread slices, then evenly divide ¾ of the cheese over the ham.
- Spread a thin layer of Dijon on the remaining 4 slices of bread and place them mustard-side down on top of the cheese. Press gently to compact the sandwiches. Cover the baking sheet tightly with aluminum foil and bake until the cheese is just starting to melt, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and discard the foil. Whisk the reserved béchamel sauce until smooth, then spread it on the tops of the sandwiches, using all of it. Sprinkle the reserved 1/3 cup of cheese over the béchamel. (Everything up to this point can be done in advance)
- Bake the sandwiches uncovered until the cheese on top is melted and bubbling, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, crack 8 of the quail eggs into a small bowl.
- When the sandwiches are ready, remove them from the oven and set aside. Heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Pour the 8 cracked eggs into the pan, spacing them evenly (if some of the whites stick together, separate them with a spatula). Season the eggs with salt and cook undisturbed until the whites are just set but the yolks are still runny, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the fried eggs to a large plate. Repeat with the remaining 8 eggs.
- Trim the crusts from each reserved sandwich then cut each sandwich into 4 smaller squares. Place the sandwiches on a serving platter, top each with a fried quail egg, and serve immediately.