Ah! Glorious canapés! I can't begin to tell you how I've missed you!
After turning away a few gigs over the last months to tend the latest addition to our family, I am now full on craving the excitement of catering for a party again... finger food and other tiny bites of delight have always been my greatest passion, since there's so much creativity going into each and every mouthful. You can play around with flavours that would be too over-powering to enjoy a whole plate of, but work a treat in small quantities. They look amazing, they taste great - what's not to like?
Now I am back in planning mode... a couple of things lined up already, but really only starting to take orders from September - after a long summer break in Austria. But it's time to clean out the closet, if you will, say good-bye to some old and trusted friends, blow the dust off some others and welcome a few new additions to the illustrious line-up.
This present recipe is a keeper, I should think. The base is a plain pumpernickel, which still needs some more work and investigation, as store-bought ones are either too crumbly or can have too much of a tang due to the sorbic acid used as a preservative, so I'd ideally like to make my own. If anyone has a reliable recipe for pumpernickel or similar rye bread, do let me know.
Part of the topping is a white cannellini beans, capers & herb spread, the idea of which comes from a Donna Hay magazine - I was amazed at how moist and tasty this spread turned out and it's such a nice alternative to the usual cream cheese pairing you find with smoked salmon - perfect also for the increasing league of lactose-intolerant people out there!
If you use top-quality salmon, like the one my local fishmonger smokes, moist and succulent and shaved into the thinnest slivers, the spread will nicely complement it, but cut through the oiliness of the fish at the same time, making it perfectly balanced. And the caviar (substitute)? Leave it out if you don't like fish roe or if your conscience denies you this treat. This canapé doesn't need it for any other reason than adding a bit of visual drama. But who would deny themselves the icing on the cake?
Cannelini bean, salmon & caviar canapés
2 slices pumpernickel (ca. 15 x 7 cm)
250 g canned cannelini beans (drained)
1-2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp dill tops (finely chopped)
1 tbsp chives (finely sliced)
1 tbsp capers (finely chopped)
salt, pepper to taste
ca. 70 g thinly sliced smoked salmon
ca. 2 tbsp caviar
20 dill tops for decoration
Using a cookie cutter, cut 3 cm rounds out of the pumpernickel, enough for 20 bases.
Make the cannelini bean spread by blitzing the beans with the lime juice until smooth, stir in the herbs and capers and season to taste.
Spread a generous amount of the bean paste on each of the bases, top decoratively with smoked salmon and some caviar, then finish off with a dill top.
Both the beans and the bases can be prepared at least a day in advance, if kept in an airtight container.