Warm Canapés from Provence
Provençal canapés, lightly pan-fried in extra-virgin
olive oil, have been created to bring back all the warm flavours of
the South of France. You can vary the ingredients and garnishes to
offer your guests a delicious selection of different flavours.
to make, I recommend a trial run on a first batch to develop the right
technique at one or two easy but critical stages (see 2 and 3 below).
Once mastered, it is all plain sailing, so use your imagination to
come up with some exciting flavour combinations of your own! I have
listed some well-tried basic recipes to set you on your way.
1 large loaf medium-sliced
white Bread (If buying your bread in France, choose French sliced pain
de mie, which is quite dry. If in the USA or UK, where bread is very
moist, it will need to be dried a few minutes in a low oven (so as not
to brown) on a baking tray and held down under one of the oven grills
to stop it curling. The ideal is "nice and dry", just supple
enough to slice through with a very sharp knife!)
1 jar normal
1 cup thick Tomato, Onion and Basil sauce (see below)
150 g (3 oz) slice fresh Goat's or Ewe's milk Cheese loaf (as a
stop gap, replace with pre-sliced processed cheese)
1 tub cherry
or sugar plum Tomatoes
1 jar black Olives (which I recommend you
pit at home rather than buying pitted olives which are frequently dry)
jar green Olives stuffed with red peppers
1 small jar salted
Anchovies (or in olive oil if salted unavailable)
1 small jar
black olive Tapenade
1 bunch fresh Basil
Oil for frying
1 pack wooden Cocktail sticks
1 Extra-sharp flat un-serated slicing knife
- Place two slices of bread
one on top of the other and cut off the crusts to form a perfect
square. You will need to cut this later into 9 or 12 ¾ in.
bite-size squares, depending on the size of the loaf, so gauge this
from the beginning. Once trimmed, open the two slices like you would
- Coat the slices with the
required blend of ingredients (see below), and re-close the "book"
to form a sandwich. When using cheese, make sure the cheese is in
the upper section of the sandwich. Heat a small quantity of
extra-virgin olive oil in a frying pan and fry the sandwich on one
side until a nice crispy deep golden brown. Place on kitchen paper
to drain and allow to cool for a few seconds. Transfer to a cutting
1. You will now need to cut the sandwich
into ¾ in. bite-size squares without the filling oozing out at
the sides. This is easy - simply a matter of technique!
Hold the sandwich firmly between fingers and thumb, close to where
you will first want to slice it, so as to maintain the height
between the two outer slices and to avoid any lateral movement.
ii) With your extra-sharp flat slicing knife, gently saw
your way completely through the upper uncooked slice ¾ in. from
the outer edge and, once done, plunge sharply through to the cutting
board to make a clean separation. Repeat the operation the required
number of times.
iii) Reunite the sections, turn the
sandwich once (45º), and proceed exactly as above to form the
individual ¾ in. bite-size squares or canapés.
Turn the individual canapés over, uncooked side down, keeping
them separate (especially where cheese is concerned, notably during
the cooking process). Prepare your cocktail sticks, top-most garnish
first, then second, etc.
[ N.B. The final
preparation of the canapés takes very little time. You can
prepare as above a little ahead of time and then cook for the final
stage as and when required during your party. Simply keep your canapés
warn without over-heating.]
To avoid the filling oozing out at
this second stage, once again using finger and thumb, hold the top
and the bottom of the canapé firmly in position, then jab the
garnished cocktail stick right through the middle in an upright
position. Slide the garnish down to the top of the canapé.
the cocktail sticks, place the canapés back in newly heated
extra-virgin olive oil in the pan and fry until the under side is a
nice crispy deep golden brown. Drain any excess oil on kitchen paper
and serve immediately.
Pissaladière - quite generously
coat one side with Thick Tomato,
Onion and Basil Sauce, the other thinly with black olive Tapenade
and close. Garnish stick with an anchovy fillet, topped with a black
Pizza Marseillaise - less generously coat
one side with Thick Tomato, Onion
and Basil Sauce, the other with the fresh goat's or ewe's milk
cheese (if this is too dry to spread easily, crush with a fork and blend
with a little yoghurt and pepper). Garnish stick with an anchovy fillet,
topped with a black olive.
Pistou Fromage - coat
one side generously with Pesto sauce, the other thinly and topped with
the fresh goat's or ewe's milk cheese (if this is too dry to spread
easily, crush with a fork and blend with a little yoghurt and pepper).
Garnish stick with a rolled basil leaf topped with a stuffed green
Pistou Tomate - coat both sides moderately
with Pesto sauce, then one with the fresh goat's or ewe's milk cheese
(if this is too dry to spread easily, crush with a fork and blend with a
little yoghurt and pepper). Garnish stick with a rolled basil leaf
topped with a cherry or olive tomato, halved and sliced-side up.
Tomato, Onion and Basil Sauce
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