6 canapes recipes to add to your repertoire

Mouthwatering morsels to wow your guests.
Nicky Ryan

According to the French cooking bible, Larousse Gastronomique, a canapé is, “A slice of bread cut into various shapes and garnished.” Sound simple? It is!

The perfect bite-sized sweet or savoury morsel to serve with cocktails or when guests arrive for dinner, a couple of canapé recipes in your repertoire bring a touch of sophistication that allows you to have fun with flavours and entertain in style. 

tuna and watermelon ceviche tartlets
(Credit: Nicky Ryan)

What is a canapé?

A type of hors d’oeuvre, canapés can be cold or hot but should essentially be light and delicate – small servings of finger food, prettily decorated and designed to keep hunger at bay. While simplicity is key when creating these tasty miniature mouthfuls, there’s more to a  canapé than meets the eye. Above all, go for style over substance but include these four essential elements when looking at how to make canapés.

1. The canapé base

A simple cracker, sliced baguette or bread, lightly toasted. For a little more punch, a tiny savoury pancake (or blini in French) also works well. Little fritters are fun if you have the time to prepare ahead.

2. The canapé spread

This offers a smooth texture in the mix and keeps everything in place. Your spread can be anything from herbed butter, avocado or softly textured ricotta cheese, to a spicy chorizo spread or pâté.

3. The canapé topping

The perfect canapé topping is succulent sliced meat or seafood, like prawn or smoked salmon. Or go for vegetarian options such as bite-sized vegetables, pickles or dainty fruit.

4. The canapé garnish

Your garnish has two jobs: to look pretty and to blend with the flavour of the rest of your canapé – sweet or savoury, seafood or salty. A feather of dill, a drizzle of burnt mustard butter or a crumble of roasted pancetta all make a striking garnish.

The most important thing to consider when constructing a  canapé is the ease of eating it – a messy, drippy, unwieldy topping will cause more problems than joy. The perfect canapé should be easily consumed in one bite.

Here are 5 mouth-watering  canapé recipes to wow your guests with:

1. Tuna & watermelon ceviche tartlets

A very little planning here that goes a long way in the style stakes, and this can be prepared in under 30 minutes.

Get the recipe here.

Tuna and watermelon ceviche tartlets
(Credit: Nicky Ryan)

2. Bruschetta with edible flowers

A true canapé with the most simple ingredients and delightful presentation. Change it up with fresh herb toppings from your garden, but this one is all about the vinaigrette.

Get the recipe here.

bruschetta with edible flowers
(Credit: Maxwell & Williams)

3. Salmon ceviche with guacamole

Fresh and light, you could hack this recipe to include tinned or ready-to-eat smoked salmon if time is tight. 

Get the recipe here.

salmon ceviche with guacomole
(Credit: Nicky Ryan)

4. Cheddar & thyme cocktail scones

Perfect finger food just as they are, split these little bites of heaven in half to make a canapé base and build from there.  

Get the recipe here.

cheddar and thyme cocktail scones
(Credit: Nicky Ryan)

5. Sweet potato, lentil and cheddar sausage rolls

OK, so not strictly a canapé, but it has all the elements so let’s call this a “fresh take” on a canapé! A pastry base and flexible ingredients you’ll find in your freezer and pantry. What’s not to love?! 

Get the recipe here.

lentil rolls

6. Smoked salmon blinis with whipped ricotta and chives

These tiny, golden pancakes are topped with smooth ricotta, delicate smoked salmon, salmon roe and a smattering of chives. 

Get the recipe here.

Smoked salmon blini with ricotta and chives
(Credit: Photography: Con Poulos / Styling: Parvarne Lambert)

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